STRATEGY v. TACTICS — What’s the Deal?


According to Inc Magazine; only 4 out of 100 businesses survive past the 10 year mark.  If your company is a decade or more old, then congratulations, you’re one of the 4%!

As I visit with dozens of small business on a regular basis; the number one problem I come across is a lack of understanding of strategy and tactics.  Most often, the victims are Millennial Start-ups that have the greatest of intentions with super cool ideas.  However, there is constant confusion of the difference between  the WHAT, WHY and the HOW.

Strategy is the WHAT and WHY. Tactics are the HOW.

Strategy is long term but your tactics will change based upon your assessment and evaluation of your strategic success throughout the year (monthly or quarterly.)

Tactics relate to actions taken day-to-day that push the company’s objectives outlined in the strategic plan. Those who perform the work are responsible for how strategy gets implemented. They are very specific activities.

Strategy involves planning, is large scale, and is difficult to copy.

Tactics are the doing, are short-term, usually smaller scale, and are easy to copy. 

Sun Tzu was an ancient Chinese military general, strategist and philosopher, who is believed to have written the famous ancient Chinese book on military strategy, “The Art of War”. Through his legends and the influential “The Art of War”, Sun Tzu not only had a significant impact on Chinese and Asian history and culture, but today’s current business strategy!  Best quote ever written in 500 BC? 


“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.”




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  1. Rudiano on May 1, 2017 at 3:16 am

    Thanks for the insightful post! Need to define my current strategy!

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