No it’s not. The first post is just an attempt to bring some really simple clarity to a topic that seems – in business circles – to have a lot of smoke and mirrors applied to it. I suppose that if you make your audience blind then you can charge to clear the air. Hey, welcome to the world of average Management Consulting!
Very sadly – for me – I was lying awake at 0530h thinking about the previous post of Strategy vs Tactics. It’s not simple and I think that the other key point to make is that you can also have a sub-strategy to achieve your overall strategy. I have even heard the overall strategic objective of being “there” instead of “here” not being referred to as strategy but a goal. I think these kind of differences are semantics and tend to involve more smoke and more mirrors. Use the term you are comfortable with but understand that the tactics – individual actions – differ.
There is of course the way that you go about achieving the overall strategic objective. I would also call this a strategy. E.g.: do you batter the front door down or tiptoe around the side and look for an open window? I am not trying to teach you individual strategies here – this is the Sun Tzu stuff I referred to in the previous post – suffice it to say that most people seem to go for the batter the door down approach when there are many many more elegant and efficient ways to achieve your strategic goal. They have a problem for some in that they are inherently more intellectually demanding and less about brute force.
Ask yourself, are you smart or just massively strong?
I used to have to cover this in a course I gave for salespeople. I am not a believer in trying to dress concepts up with loads of flannel when they need to be understood first. There is room for detail when you get into it but the simple concept should be that. Simple.
Simply put; It’s a bit like going to a film. The strategy is the overall aim to go and see a film. The tactics are the step by step actions to achieve that. They can be broken down into granular detail if needs be. It could be as simple as choose a film, get in the car and go to cinema, watch film. On the other hand it could be broken down into turn PC on, use Google to search for films, read reviews, pick film that suits your free time & tastes, buy tickets, collect keys, check there is enough petrol in the car etc etc etc…
This isn’t just a pure sales plan tool but a great thing to hold in your head when planning a campaign for a variety of things. The strategy is without doubt the hardest thing to agree on. If it’s about a business relationship then you need to be in alignment and agreement with your customer first. A strategy isn’t something you can just “do” to the other party. Once they trust that you understand their business and their strategy then it’s much easier to earn credibility by showing how your strategy with them helps them achieve their strategy. After that the tactics will come easily. Some will be be joint and some will be owned by either party. Simple, isn’t it?
I fundamentally disagree with the remark in an article I read that says the following; “Strategy is the practice of figuring out the best way to get from here to there.” Noooooo, strategy is the decision that you want to be “there” and not “here”. Tactics are the things you need to do to get from “here” to “there”, achieving your strategic aim.
Sounds simpler by the second? So, it’s OK to get all Sun Tzu about it the whole thing, but ensure that you grasp the basic distinctions first.