Strategy vs. Tactics

Discussion of strategic and tactical planning, the differences, and why both are needed to ensure success.

Accomplishing significant feats require time and effort. In order to challenge and change the status quo one must commit to the process and construct a plan of attack as lacking an appropriate plan increases the chances that the mission will not be successful. A plan is comprised of a balanced combination of strategy and tactics to engage the long term goal through a sequence of smaller steps. Both are needed to remain task focused and realize success.

Definitions

Defining the difference between strategy and tactics will do much of the heavy lifting toward providing the required context for this discussion.

Strategy is the high-level roadmap employed to get from the current position to the completion of a mission. Starting with wide swipes and developing further, a strategy will begin to orient one on their path to mission completion. The strategy will provide order and sequence to circumvent pitfalls and begin to bring context to required techniques and resources. A good strategy continues developing to strike a balance between specificity in direction of action and the ability to freely maneuver as real-time conditions dictate. The strategy should provide a clear picture of the finish line and define the outer bounds to confine and direct the tactics employed toward the end goal.

Tactics, then, are those individual maneuvers, techniques, and systems put in place at each step of a larger strategy to secure incremental progress toward the final goal. The latitude left within the outer bounds of a strategy is navigated using tactics. Tactics are more task focused and a short term plan on how to navigate the current opposition and support the overall strategy. Tactics are more direct and tangible actions and are dynamic in considering the changes taking place in the field.

Interaction of Strategy and Tactics

The interaction of strategy and tactics should now start coming into focus. Strategy provides the boundaries that tactics will operate within.

Balance is key as a strategy that is prescriptive will become too rigid and remove the flexibility necessary to make real-time decisions in the field. A strategy too wide will not focus the tactics employed and will allow tactical efforts to be exerted in too many directions diminishing the ultimate effectiveness of the efforts.

Strategy and tactics are relevant in all situations and environments in which there is a goal to be met.

They may have won the battle, but we will win the war.

This saying depicts the interaction of strategy and tactics in successes on the battlefield; the original example of the larger concept discussed here. Thinking of war as the overall strategy employed to bring ultimate success, the battles are seen as tactical wins that serve that larger purpose.

This also implies that tactics may be volatile in the short term and that a win or loss in a tactical pursuit does not dictate the larger success of the strategy; which is true. The level at which one looks at tactics is from a closer viewpoint than one looks at the overall strategy. Tactics are considered on a micro-scale whereas strategy is on the macro-scale. Tactical engagements may be won or lost but will ultimately aim to trend along the larger strategy. Without vision of the macro, the micro will inevitably come off course.

To be ultimately successful and rise above the volatility of tactical wins and losses, strategic and a tactical perspectives are required to ensure that the tactics are serving to progress the strategy. Without regular review and study of both levels of planning, the overall concentration and effectiveness of the tactical efforts will be diminished. The awareness of these ideas and the interconnection of the two will put one ahead of their opposition. Effectively building strong strategies supported by strong tactics is the recipe for sure success.

Strategize well and attack using strong tactics to ensure victory.

Yours in stregth,

-Jersey

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