A Chinese military strategist once said that a strategy without any tactics is the slowest route to victory and tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat. The words strategy and tactic management are used extensively in the business management world. Often, the corporations employ the words strategy and tactic interchangeably.

But, they both differ in several ways. A strategic plan lays out the path to achieve long-term and broad management goals. Tactical planning is short term, concrete and defines the steps to attain strategic planning. 

Strategic management work includes examples like improving the supply chain management for the long run, recruiting top-notch professionals, implementing flexible work arrangements, managing project portfolios.

Tactical management focuses on what actions and resources to use for the accomplishment of the strategy. Both tactical and strategic planning are two pieces of the same puzzle when it comes to streamlining the management work.

Let us understand what strategic and tactical management work is and what differentiates them. 

What is Strategic Work?

Strategy

Strategic work involves setting the direction for a business. It engages with drafting a master plan, designed by the management firm to achieve its mission and goals.

It is an amalgamation of corporate moves and decisions harnessed by the management to attain the competitive market position, carry out operations, manage long term projects etc. Strategy refers to the anticipation of future possibilities to seize corporate goals. 

Strategic management work is often action-oriented and based on principal considerations. Top management like managers, VPs and executives formulate it. Strategic management requires exhaustive thought and considerations.

It promotes dynamic leadership, examines the external environment, enhances creative thinking and assists in maximising the profit. The three attributes to include in a strategic plan are: 

  • Mission, Vision and Background of the management or business: What is your present position? Where do you see your firm in a few years?
  • Goals: What would you like to attain?
  • Directly Responsible Individuals (DRIs): Who will help you to achieve these goals?

What is Tactical Work?

Marketing

A tactical management plan is inclined towards smaller steps in a shorter time frame to achieve the strategic goals. Tactical work is the quintessence of how to attain the strategies planned.

The tactical plans are devised weekly, fortnightly, monthly, quarterly or yearly depending on the strategic goal to be achieved. Tactical work deals with the operational approach of day-to-day decisions.

Tactical plans are structured and designed by middle and lower management. It comprises situational planning, procedures and methods to support the defined mission. Tactical work involves project managers employing and altering tactics to achieve the project portfolio, managing business risks, problem-solving etc.

A good tactic aids your strategy and has a lucid purpose. Tactics have a start-end date, several milestones and everybody is accountable for them. The three attributes to include in a tactical plan are: 

  • Timeline: What is the set timeline to achieve your goals?
  • Resource Base: Analysis of tools and resources 
  • Actions: What actions to be implemented to meet the strategic plans?

Example of Strategic and Tactical Work Management: 

Strategy: Maximise sales of the company by 20% by probing online marketing.

Tactics: These are the tactics to achieve this strategy:

  • Using presentations about the products on blogs and websites with professionally designed templates and PowerPoint backgrounds
  • Strengthening the marketing channel for timely delivery 
  • Improve the company website to hasten direct shopping
  • Advertisements on social media
  • SEO friendly product advertisement

How does strategic and tactical work management differentiate?

Long Term versus Short Term

Long Term versus Short Term

Strategic management is tied to long term goals planned for years to come. It might be compiled and reviewed from time to time to check the progress of its working. Tactical management, on the other hand, is flexible and prone to change with a change in the situation.

It is short term and changes to yield immediate results. Tactics are articulated to achieve specific goals in a defined period and adjust according to market condition. 

Reactive versus Proactive 

While strategic management has a reactive approach to operations, tactical management has a proactive one. As strategy takes a broader perspective, it is more oriented towards future change.

Tactical work deals with troubleshooting and problem-solving to improve the effectiveness of the strategic plan. The strategic plan incorporates experience, research, analysis for taking decisions. Tactical imbibes user experiences, processes and best practices.

General versus Special

Strategic management work is crafted by generalists for overall planning defining the organization’s future. Board Of Directors, Chief Executive Officer, Chief Operating Officer and other essential C-suite personnel are responsible for forming strategies.

Tactical intelligence is manoeuvred by specialists who have expertise in that area. Sales Managers, Project Managers, Finance Managers are specialists engaged to optimise the effectiveness of strategies with tactical operating decisions. 

Measuring Strategy versus Measuring Tactics

Strategy

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are wielded to measure strategic management plans. Review your company’s past performances to choose appropriate targets and compare them with improvements made with the achievement of the strategy.

Tactics are more about planning and its components. If strategic planning is gaining grounds, it is indicative of being a success. 

Why Adopt Both Strategic Mindset and Tactical Expertise For Management?

A well-defined and robust strategy is the heart and soul of a project. Suitable tactics will work only if the strategies are future-oriented with maximum growth. Strategic management keeps the focus on the value of the project aligned with the organization’s goals.

Effective tactical practices adopted to achieve those strategies will result in optimal benefits. Both strategic and tactical operations encourage systematic thinking of the organisational structure as well. 

When it comes to working management, both strategic and tactical plans go hand in hand to herald a business to success. While strategy focuses on choosing the best plans to obtain long term missions of the firm, tactics are the driving force behind them.

A tip here is to match the tactics with the strategy for them to work best together. If those two operate together harmoniously, the output will be positive. 

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Stefan Campbell
The Small Business Blog was started in 2009. Aiming to start, help, and grow small and medium sized businesses.