Strategy Vs Tactics

Organizations operate to achieve strategic goals and to achieve these goals they use strategies and tactics. 

If you’ve ever been involved in high-level strategic business planning, you must have heard of strategy and tactics. 

Tactics and strategy are different terms, and today’s blog post will discuss these planning concepts in detail.

What is Strategy?

Strategy is the long-term direction of an organization. It is an action plan that defines goals and dictates how you will achieve these goals. It talks about the future or where the organization is heading. 

Top executives formulate strategy, focusing on business growth, sustainability, continuity, growth, and market dominance. 

Strategy is an organization’s uniqueness in the market.

What are Tactics?

Tactics involve the day-to-day activities of the organization. They are short-term in approach. They are also known as initiatives that add up to achieve the strategy. They include specific plans, best practices, etc. 

Strategy is the action plan to achieve the goal, and tactics are the individual actions that will achieve the goal.

Tactics are the execution part of the strategy.

Success involves the execution (tactics) of a strategy. An organization must ensure its tactics are aligned with strategy. 

Businesses execute their strategy through projects. Organizations need to conduct regular strategic reviews, not only operational reviews, to ensure that individual tasks align with the business’s company strategy.

Strategy Vs Tactics

A comparison of strategy and tactics is shown below.

strategy vs tactics table

Strategic skills

The following are the skills required for developing a strategy for an organization.

  • Ability to see a high-level overview of the organization
  • Knowing other functions to see how they interlink
  • Ability to apply the good product and industry expertise
  • Ability to work with top management and project teams to implement strategic deliverables
  • Ability to communicate the essential business aspects of the project
  • Ability to think at the project and portfolio level to understand how proposed projects fit into the business strategy.

Tactical skills

The following skills are needed to carry out day-to-day tactics in the organization.

  • Prioritize and manage time well
  • Focus on technical elements of your projects or operations
  • Tailoring agile and traditional tools for delivery
  • Strong ability to manage critical success factors, schedule, budget, risks, etc.

There are shared skills for both strategic and tactical activities:

  • Intrapreneurship
  • Negotiation skills
  • Communication skills
  • Interpersonal skills

Organizational Project Management (OPM)

Resources are limited, so organizations prioritize projects or programs. The OPM model helps understand the strategic objective of the business. It is a strategic execution framework like the Balanced Scorecard and prioritizes resources.

opm in strategy and tactics

The framework integrates activities that align programs and projects with the strategy of the organization and activities that help transition project results into operations to realize business benefits.

In project management, OPM is used to align projects to organizational strategy. It ensures efficient use of project resources and saves costs by eliminating projects unrelated to the organization’s strategic objective.

Organizational strategy is an input into the company’s OPM. 

The Balanced Scorecard (BSC)

The BSC is a performance model that identifies strategy drivers at the highest level. Businesses must ensure lower-level objectives and measures shown through tactics are consistent with high-level strategies.

A balanced scorecard helps translate a vision into key strategies that can be implemented.

Examples of a Balanced Scorecard

Strategy: Be the preferred destination for poultry products in the XYZ community.

bcs in strategy and tactics

Examples of Strategy and Tactics

Digital Marketing

Strategy: Increase lead collection by 25%.

Tactics: 

  • Add a popup lead collection form on a website to collect leads
  • Add sign-up form on all posts
  • Offer free case studies to get leads
  • Run social media promotions
  • Conduct quizzes

Sales

Strategy: Increase sales by 20%.

Tactics:

  • Offer discount
  • Offer coupon
  • Run social media promotion
  • Use TV commercials
  • Enter into new markets

Characteristics of a Good Strategy

  • Well Defined Goal: A good strategy has a well-defined and achievable goal. 
  • Backed Up by Data: A good strategy is well researched and supported by backup data.
  • Backup Plan: A good strategy must have a contingency and fallback plan if the original strategy gets derailed.
  • Future-Oriented: Strategies are future-oriented.
  • Focused on Outcome: Strategies are focused on the outcome.
  • Requires High-Level Thinking: Strategies are defined by top-level management.
  • Streamlines Decision-Making: It helps in the decision-making process.
  • Aligns the Team Towards a Common Goal: Strategies align the organization and project teams towards a common goal.

Characteristics of Good Tactics

  • Tied to Strategy: Tactics are tied to a strategy, as these are actions plans for the strategy.
  • Should be Short-Term: Tactics are short-term actions to achieve the goals.
  • Should be Time-Bound: Tactics are time-bound to complete.
  • Should be Actionable: Tactics must be actionable so they can be completed.
  • Include all Details: Tactics include all possible details as these are action-oriented
  • Present Focused: Tactics are present-oriented.
  • Are Part of a Larger Plan: Tactics are part of a business’s strategic plan.

Summary

Strategy and tactics are different but complement each other. A strategy has a bigger role, and tactics are just a part of it. Together they prepare businesses for the future in the face of disruption and fast-changing technology.

References

R. David and H. Norton, The Balanced Scorecard: Translating strategy into actions, Harvard Business School Press, 1996, pg. 289-292.

Managing Change in Organizations: A Practice Guide, Project Management Institute, page. 26-28

https://hbr.org/1996/11/what-is-strategy

https://hbr.org/2022/04/keeping-sight-of-your-companys-long-term-vision?ab=hero-main-text

https://hbr.org/2015/03/strategys-minefield-3

https://www.pmi.org/learning/library/grow-up-already-opm3-primer-8108

https://hbr.org/2006/03/how-to-implement-a-new-strategy-without-disrupting-your-organization