Are you a strategic or tactical leader?22 Feb 2016
For most people, there is little difference between strategy and tactics. However, an experienced leadership training instructor would tell you there is a major divergence between a strategic manager and a tactical manager.
Strategic versus tactics
The common understanding is that strategy is the process of setting high goals for an organisation or business. In his book On Competition, management guru Michael Porter argues that “competitive strategy is about being different. It means deliberately choosing a different set of activities to deliver a unique mix of value”.
Strategy could then be defined as the what, or in other words, “what my business can accomplish”.
Strategy could then be defined as the what, or in other words, “what my business can achieve”.
Tactics, on the other hand, is the how, or for instance: “How is my business going to go about accomplishing this?”.
The variation in meaning may seem small, but, it can mean the difference between failure and success. But, why is it important to know whether you are tactician or strategist?
What does the difference mean for me?
Understanding the contrast between the two can allow managers and leaders to better understand their own actions and thought patterns. Being self-reflexive is an important part of auditing your own decisions in an effort to make sure you have chosen the right option.
If a leader is overly strategic, his or her decisions will focus too much on long-term success without laying the foundation that will get his or her company there. On the other hand, a leader who is excessively tactical will end up narrowing their focus too much and will not be able to plan for the future.
To empathise this, let us look at a theoretical example:
A regional bread market is dominated by two leaders: Bob and Sally. Bob runs company A, while Sally runs company B. Bob loves to get his hands dirty and take part in all the processes of his company, making sure they are all running correctly.
This has led Bob to become the biggest bread brand in the region, but unfortunately, because of his considerable focus on the processes and methods of his business, he has not properly planned for growth. As such, his company’s productivity levels out and his business begins to stagnate.
Sally, on the other hand, was so worried about what her company would do once it became successful, she did not implement the required audit and monitoring processes to make sure her business foundation was stable.
Both businesses failed because neither of their leaders was able to balance tactical with strategic thinking. If you would like to know more about how to balance the two, talk to an experienced management training provider today.