Tactics vs Strategy

In the last post of the "Spectrum of Leadership" series, we covered the tactician who is looking to  manage the initiatives in the here and the now. Today, lets take a look at the next level of leadership which is more strategic in nature. 

Strategy is the most abused word in business. So before we even go ahead, Id like to define what I call strategy. Strategy is the knowledge of athe framework within which tactical initiatives operate. The strategy is the route, the competency and the methodology used to achieve a given result. Once a strategy is adopted, tactics may be used within the limitations enforced by a strategy to achieve a milestone in the path to the end result. 

Let's see this through a short example. 

Walmart's governing strategy is to compete on price or as they say :"Everyday Low Prices" . In order to keep their costs low, they develop supply chain competencies and focus on supplier relationships so as to keep their wholesale prices low. 

In order to achieve this strategy, 

1. They need to convince the customers that costs are lower 

Tactic: Comparison based marketing, discounts on cash cow products and so on

2. They need to hit heavy negotiations with the suppliers

Tactic: Have large volume orders with suppliers to improve bargaining power 

3. They need a highly effective supply chain. 

Tactic: own the trucks. Develop a new software for supply chain management. 

As is clear from the above example, tactics are very very different from a strategy. While differentiating between the two may not be important on a day to day basis, it is critical as you start to look at yourself and your career path as a leader. 

How do you see tactics and strategy play out in your life or workplace?

Share the example in the comments section below.