Strategy Vs. Tactics: The Major Difference

Strategy Vs. Tactics: The Major Difference

Friends, entrepreneurs, [inaudible 00:00:21], lend me your ears. So, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but almost everyone today is talking about something strategic. I noticed the other day I was sitting in a meeting and somebody kept saying, “The strategic, the strategic.” And then the things they would say afterwards were not strategic. Somebody says, “We need to do something strategic.” Like what? “Let’s take a break.” How’s taking a break strategic, [inaudible 00:00:44]?” So, for the entrepreneurs, I just wanted to have a quick conversation about what do we mean when we say something is strategic versus it being tactical versus it being operational? Because these are very three different layers of management and leadership. There’s operational, tactical, strategic.

Operational are the things you’re doing every day. It’s the mundane stuff. The sending of email. It’s the delivery of product to client. It’s the manufacture of a product. It’s that…the sales process. That stuff is operational. You are operationalizing it every single day. Executing it every single day and every minute of every day.

When things become tactical, it means you’ve taken a step back. You’ve thought about what your competitors are doing and how to position yourself better, but listen to this, in the short term. More importantly, typically tactical interventions have a 3X multiplier. That means you gonna take time out and for every effort you put in, it must give you three in multiple of the effort. I’m gonna put in a [inaudible 00:01:48] worth of effort, it must give me three in result. That’s something tactical.

When something is strategic, it’s a 10X. Now, strategic things take a long time to do, a long time to conceptualize, and a long time to implement, that’s why they’re strategic. So, we talk about 10X, anytime we do something strategic. So, let’s test this. I’ve got a new product I wanna take to market, and to take my new product to market I need to engage new customers, I need to get a bit of customer insight, a bit of customer research, and know how I can reach the customers. What are the operational bits, tactical bits, and strategic bits?

The operational bits would be designing the website. That might be something operational. I’m gonna design a simple WordPress website. It might be coming up with a logo.That’s something operational. The tactical bits would be asking questions like, “How am I gonna reach my customers? So, what’s my distribution channel? Where am I gonna find my customers? Am I gonna use partners or am I gonna distribute myself?” The strategic bits would be, how’s the product gonna look? And how’s the look of the product going to affect the pricing of the product? And how’s the pricing and the product going to affect how I position it in the market? And if I understand all of my competitors and where they’re positioned, where’s my specific product going to be positioned on price, packaging, etc., etc.? That’s a strategic conversation because once you get it right, typically you’re going to commit resources to it for a very long time to come. Make sense?

So, this is just a quick musing. Don’t call tactical things strategic, don’t call strategic things tactical, and whatever you do, do not ever call operational things strategic. And the reason it’s important not to call it that because you’ll fool yourself. You don’t know what you should be doing. And this is just the final bit in our conversation. So, you’re a business leader, you’re an entrepreneur, you’re building your business, you’re on your way. One of the things I’ve battled with as I’ve been building businesses is, where do I focus my time and attention? So, when do I know when it’s time to go and look at a comment on Twitter? When do I know when it’s time to go and reply to an email versus when do I know when it’s time to relook at my pricing model, relook at my product architecture, relook at my delivery model?

Unless you build a business, you know that there are certain things you just have no time doing. In fact, you have no business doing them. Why? Because they’re tactical and operational and you put in place very capable people who will do those things, and who will do those things much better than you, so that you can focus your attention on doing more strategic things.

Remember, as you grow your business, you also have to outgrow you.You have to outgrow the things you used to do so that you can start doing the things you should be doing. Strategic versus tactical, [inaudible 00:04:41]. Get the focus right. That’s this week’s musing, I look forward to hear from you guys.

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