Tactics vs Strategy

 Tactics or Strategy?

Lately, I happen to participate in a meeting with some high-profile company managers concerning methods. Tools to define the strategic tactics planning of activities.

“The strategy is over!”.

I was immediately perplexe and try to understand from which reflection this provocative statement came.

The reflection was directly related to the analysis of the socio-economic context of reference.

According to the financial director, the socio-economic context that changes at high speed increases the uncertainty of future scenarios, whether economic-social-environmental, does not allow for the elaboration of long-term forecasts and a management strategy for the organization. 

In such an uncertain framework, an organization can only operate tactically in pursuing its objectives, careful to exploit the opportunities and circumvent the obstacles of the reference context, the market, relations with stakeholders, moving in a chameleonic manner in relation to external contingencies.

Therefore, all that remains is to sail on sight. Careful to exploit the best wind and avoid. The most impervious storms keep the boat well orient towards achieving the objectives.

As Lubrano would have said in an old RAI television broadcast, some questions arise spontaneously:

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  • Without a strategy aimed at achieving a vision of future realization, how do I define the operational objectives to be achieved in the short term?
  • What is the strategic value of the objectives in the short term in the development path of my organization?
  • What are the synergy and the importance of the different objectives of different departments?
  • How will I direct my investments to fulfill the organizational mission underlying my work?
  • What will my presence be on the market? How will I be able to express a coherent, recognizable organizational identity capable of earning? Maintaining and increasing the trust of stakeholders?

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It is therefore advisable to try to shed some light on the subject.

Tactics & Strategy

Tactics and Strategy represent two important moments of corporate governance, conceptually distinct but strongly interconnected.

By Strategy we mean a long-term action plan with which to set up and subsequently coordinate actions aimed at achieving a predetermined purpose, the future vision.

The strategy is realized by identifying a branching of objectives that from more abstract and temporally distant vision objectives are broken down into strategic objectives, which in turn are broken down into operational objectives of the various departments for which the activities to be carried out in synergy will be defined.

 By Tactics, we mean the method, tools, and means used to achieve predefined objectives. The tactic, unlike the strategy, concerns the way in which a specific organizational department or the entire organization coordinates and is configured and moves in relation to the specific objective to be achieved.

There are therefore two fundamental criteria of distinction:

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  • the time frame of interest
  • the type of objective

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If the strategy looks at the complexity of the organization and its evolution in the long term, the tactic is a moment of governance of the activities orient to the short term, in view of the operational objectives to be achieved and the needs and opportunities of the expression of the activities working.

If with the strategy we are reflecting on the choices according to the goals of the organization with the tactics we are working on the choices according to the most opportune means in relation to the reference context.

Tactics and Strategy are therefore two conceptually distinct moments of governance, equally important in organizational management and deeply interconnect.

The tactic to be applied is strongly influenced by the strategy of the broader defined breath. So the strategy is reviewed and evaluated on the basis of the readings on the short. Medium business in working time view of the operational objectives.

It is true that the speed of changes in the context and the high uncertainty call managers to refine. Their operational capacity for tactical management, but regardless of a long-term vision and share development, risks crystallizing organizational action to short-sight short-term management in which the end becomes the means, In which management decisions are made in a reactive manner to contingent variations. Exposing the whole organization to a high risk of inconsistency and identity volatility.

It is therefore good, is proceeding on a path of organizational development, to focus on looking ahead. Train oneself to work in the tension of the will to fulfill one’s mission by virtue of the vision of the desired future.

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