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Strategy versus Tactics

Kendall Allen writes :

On our best game, we plan for business and get to market; we move with clarity from strategy to plan to brass tacks. It all ties together. But, given the potential to miss the mark and disconnect horribly, there is an open, perpetual conversation about strategy vs. tactics. In almost any business circle, it buzzes. You can jump in on this confab almost any given day of the week. What is the talk?

Well, I’m sure you’ve noticed that some people truly cannot distinguish between strategy and tactics; it’s all a blur, or they just flat-out jump right into the weeds and operate more as tacticians than critical thinkers. Many of those either lazy or clueless go as far as to say, “Strategy and tactics, one and the same.” So, we talk about them. There’s a collective guffaw among the righteous — and the conversation that extols the difference goes from there. Seriously — just think how many opinion pieces you have seen on whether people — marketers, agencies, media companies — get it or not. It even extends to the world at large –other sectors and even presidential debates. Strategy vs. tactics — what’s the difference? We love this topic.

With an emphasis on the high end, as we judge not only the presence of strategy but its quality and influence on a proper plan, it always becomes a an issue of perceived intelligence. We are in effect, evaluating another’s ability to assess a business situation and lay out strategy to drive plan, program and execution. Strategic chops are your starting credentials. However, within your enterprise, sometimes, unfortunately, it’s a matter of limited bandwidth to slow down and get it right. There are reasons that poor, misguided strategy happens in companies — or doesn’t happen at all. Clearly, it’s imperative to alleviate those obstacles and free up thinking — if we are serious about getting it right, and enabling our staffs to get it down.

As we turn for a moment from strategy, and focus on the more practical extension — the tactical — it comes down to not being presumptuous. On any level, are all known questions asked and answered? In a market and times like this — such accountability from top to bottom is the very pivot of confidence and ultimately, scale.

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