Strategy vs Tactics – Difference Between Strategy and Tactics

Strategy vs Tactics – Difference Between Strategy and Tactics

If you study ideal business organizations, you’ll see that they have a fixed vision that guides each of their business processes. Professionally, you can say that other businessmen have a well-defined strategy and tactics to help them achieve their goals. These two terms are similar, but they are not. A strategy is a general plan of points that you need to do to achieve some result. And tactics are the actions to get realized the strategy.

We’ll explain the characteristics of each term and give you a comparison table to illustrate how they compare to each other. All of this is intended to answer the question – “what’s the difference between strategy and tactics?”

Definition of Strategy – So What Is Strategy?

A strategy is defined as a high-level approach towards achieving a definitive long-term goal. This approach is applicable in just about any walk of life where there is a need for some form of impact. In an organization, for instance, this high-level approach is the mapped-out path that would hopefully lead to the accomplishment of their mission statement.

The American academic, Michael Porter, in one of his economic theories, stated that the most effective strategies adopt at least one of the following.

  • Cost leadership: This is when an organization offers the lowest possible cost of operation for their products, thereby establishing a competitive edge over their counterpart.
  • Differentiation: This is when a product is intentionally made to stand out from the rest to make it more attractive to a particular target market.
  • Focus: This is when an institution specializes in offering a particular product or service in a niche market.

Whichever theory you may wish to adopt, it is crucial to have it documented to help the narrative for decision making in different situations. Aside from that, a documented plan helps to mitigate risks, present a more professional image, and presents a platform for a fresh perspective.

Definition of Tactics – So What Are Tactics?

Tactics is defined as the specific actions required for the achievement of a short-term goal informed by a bigger long-term goal. Interestingly, this definition explains how strategy vs tactics compare to each other and how they work and in hand. The “specific actions” refer to the latter while the “bigger long-term goal” refers to the former.

A good tactic needs to be carefully drafted to serve no other purpose but to aid the strategy. It makes it easier to stay on the journey, and can be counted as a milestone to success with each completion. According to experts, effective goal-oriented action of this nature must have a specific period within which it must be completed successfully.

Let us take a look at tactics vs strategy based on how they are developed. In the case of the latter, there is a need for extensive research, some notable level of internal reflection, and in-depth planning. It is usually vision-driven and futuristic. The former, on the other hand, requires some level of research, knowledge, skills, and talent.

Let us reiterate that these two need to be in line with one another or the goal would be defeated or unnecessarily extended.

What Is the Main Difference Between Strategy and Tactics?

Aside from the definitions, here are other points showing the difference between strategy and tactic.

Basis of ComparisonStrategy Tactics
Definition This simply refers to a vision of an existing organization and plans on how to make it a reality. This refers to a series of simpler steps aimed towards reaching the bigger picture of an establishment.
Time frame Long-term Short-term
Function It exposes the bigger picture and the core values of an organization Gives a clear day to day instruction on how to reach the bigger picture
Basis Based on facts gathered after extensive research Based on the general goal of the organization
Nature Competitive Preventive
Flexibility Low probability of change High probability of changes
Orientation Future-oriented Present conditions

So What Are Strategy and Tactics? – Conclusion

So far, we have dealt with the answer to the question about the difference between strategy and tactics. Note that these terms do not apply only to business organizations and government establishments. They also apply to critical situations like war.

In every situation where these terms are used, they still have the same basic meanings. So, it is not wrong to say that everything stated above still applies when it comes to the difference between strategy and tactics in war.

However, if you don’t have the time to explain all of the above and you want to be more specific about these terms, you should ask yourself – “what is the primary difference between strategies and tactics? Well, aside from the definitions, the time-frame is the most practical difference between these two terms.