Strategy, derived from the Greek word “Strategos” meaning military general and Tactics, derived from the Greek word “Taktike” meaning “art of arrangement”, both these words have quite different root meanings. However, these terms are often used in place of each other, interchangeably and in the wrong context.
Strategy simply put is what the company wishes to achieve in the long term and tactic is how the company will achieve its goals. Strategy takes into consideration the organization as a whole as well as the external factors that affect the organization. Tactics however are short-term plans and/or actions that aim at achieving the smaller particular goals which contribute to achieving the bigger goal.
Sun Tzu, a Chinese military general and philosopher, considered to be one of the most influential military strategists of all time had authored the book ‘The Art of War’. In the book he says, “All men can see these tactics whereby I conquer, but what none can see is the Strategy out of which victory is evolved.”
Following are some of the major differences between strategy and tactic:
|Context||What?||How and Who?|
|Focus||Goals, future, vision of the company, broad.||Immediate goals, smaller plans/sub-plans, narrow.|
|Time Frame||Long term, stays constant, fixed for a long time period.||Short term, flexible and adapts to affecting factors.|
|Emphasizes||External factors||Internal factors|
|Example||Increase revenue by lowering cost of shipping orders.||Reducing shipping weight by using double layered durable cardboard instead of steel boxes.|
Despite the many differences between the two, without each other strategy and tactics cannot attain success.
To successfully achieve the strategy and to fruitfully employ the tactics, the two always need to co-exist. A strategy without tactics would be goals and aims with no actions to achieve them. Correspondingly, tactics without a strategy would be actions without any purpose or direction.
Thus, an organization or even an individual for that matter needs to find that sweet spot where strategy and tactics align perfectly together and the tactics lead to achievement of any and all the goals for which the strategy have been formed. Tandem between the two will give one that edge over others in the market who are still confused or unaware of the difference between a strategy and a tactic.
- Owyang, Jeremiah. “The Difference between Strategy and Tactics”. http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/2013/01/14/the-difference-between-strategy-and-tactics/. N.p., 14th January, 2013. Web. 19th September, 2016.
- Olse, Erica. “Strategic Planning: Strategy VS. Tactics”. http://www.dummies.com/business/business-strategy/strategic-planning-strategy-vs-tactics/. N.p, N.d. Web. 19th September, 2016
- Friedland, Liam. “Strategy Versus Tactics 3 x 5 UX Strategy and tactics in a nutshell”. http://www.uxmatters.com/mt/archives/2015/02/strategy-versus-tactics.php. N.p., 2nd February, 2015. Web. 19th September, 2016
- Osama El-Kadi. “Strategy Definition & xFundamentals Plus Origin of the Word”. http://www.easy-strategy.com/strategy-definition.html . N.p., 2008. Web. 19th September, 2016
- Athanassiou, Takis. “Strategy vs. Tactics”. http://takisathanassiou.com/strategy-vs-tactics/. N.p., 16th August, 2013. Web. 10th September, 2016
- “What is Strategy? The Three Levels of Strategy”. Mind Tools. https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/what-is-strategy.htm . N,p., N.d., Web. 19th September, 2016
- “Tactic”. http://www.dictionary.com/browse/tactic. . N,p., N.d., Web. 19th September, 2016 ____________________________________________________________________________