(Fig 1 from :

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:

 Strategy  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.

(Fig 2 from:

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.

(Fig 3 from:

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.

#StrategyVsTactic #KnowTheDifference







  • Hey Gaurav – The cartoon you used at the beginning of your post – put a serious subject in a light hearted manner so that you were able to address the issues in a way that was both informative and entertaining.

  • Excellent approach, Gaurav and thank you for the reference! I like both your analysis and your conclusions. Keep up the good job!