It’s amazing how often we find people that cannot differentiate a strategy from a tactic, and they are managing companies! It wasn’t until I became a marketer that I finally understood how important is to understand this difference. To help you get it, I will tell you an example:
Let’s say you are on a military mission and they drop you off in the middle of the jungle. You have finished your mission, now what? What’s the plan to get out from that jungle and come home? well… Will you go down the river? up the hill? go to a clear spot where the helicopter can pick you up? This is called the Strategy! to see the whole thing over the shoulders. Strategy has broader goals and longer terms comparing to tactics.
Now that you have your strategy, you need to define how you are going to succeed. If you go down the river will you walk all the way, will you use a boat? To survive, will you take a knife with you? what type of knife? how are you going to make fire? how many days and nights will take you to get there safe? As you see, tactis can be as many as you think are needed. Tactics are usually done on what we call “under the shoulders”. It’s the how’s and who’s.
What people usually do is to go out there with a bunch of “tactics” but without a strategy, is like having carving tools and you just start working hoping that something nice and pretty comes up from your ability to use the tools. If you are a real strategist, you already have in mind and “on paper” what you want to create/achieve before looking for the right tools.
Take your time to define your strategies and tactics before going to battle.