Difference Between Strategy and 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. This means that they are clear about their intent to go from point A to point B, and they have laid-out plans on how to do that. Professionally, you can say they have a well-defined strategy and tactics to help them achieve their goals. These two terms are similar, but they are not. There is a difference between strategy and tactics as we’re going to explain in the course of this article.

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

This simply refers to a vision of an existing organization and plans on how to make it a reality. It is more like a general compass guiding the affairs of the organization at all times, right from the inception.

Here are some traits you should keep in mind about the term strategy to help you make the difference between tactics and strategy:

  • It is usually long-term. It is established at soon as an organization is created and must guide the course of every action, both internal and external.
  • Includes the very core values of what makes an establishment what it is. Values such as respects, ethics, integrity, fairness, results, learning, balance, discipline, etc, are some of the most common values in most establishments.
  • Defines the purpose of an organization; also known as a vision statement. Here, you are expected to explain what you’re out to do, and how your actions will affect the industry in question.
  • It covers every department of a firm and every single person from the board of directors to the newest intern.
  • It is achievable by showing specification, opportunities for growth, and efficiency.
  • Developed based on facts relating to the past and current situations of the organization. Here, you’ll need to do some extensive research on the current happenings in your industry, the past events, how these events can change the future, and how you can play a role in it.
  • Defines leadership roles expected to handle the different subsection of the firm.

The sole aim and focus, in this case, is the desired results/goals. Focusing on this is what will keep the dream for an organization alive until it is realized.

Definition of Tactics

This refers to a series of simpler steps aimed towards reaching the bigger picture of an establishment. Generally, they take less time and may not necessarily duplicate all the departments of an establishment.

Here are some characteristics of great tactics that show the difference between strategy and tactics:

  • It is usually short-term while the other one is long-term. This is the number one difference between tactic and strategy.
  • Aims to reach a new target audience. Every approach used in this case must aim to extend the functionalities of the organization through quality and quantity.
  • Serves as a yardstick for measuring growth. From the results of every tactical event, you can tell if the organization has taken one or more steps forward, backward, or still at the same point.
  • Increases the revenue of the organization both financially and otherwise. This will allow the organization to keep moving in the right direction.
  • Identify new opportunities within your industry. When a particular tactic does not work, you can change it by giving it a high level of flexibility. Identifying new opportunities is one way you can do this. For instance, creating an online presence for an offline clothing store leads to new customers, higher revenue, and overall growth.
  • Improved environment for workers and customers is also one of the characteristics of great tactics. Upgrading your technology, redecorating your workspace, promotions, salary increases, etc. are great ways to improve the environment for workers and customers alike.
  • Rebrands or strives to maintain the current brand of the organization. Is the image of the organization consistent with the vision statement? If so, then look for ways to enhance it. If not, then there is a need for rebranding.

All these features are easier to implement with a specific timeline that can help you measure the rate at which your organization is progressing. Understanding them effectively can help you answer the question – “what is the difference between strategy and tactics?”

Strategy vs Tactics Comparison Table

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

Conclusion of the Main Difference Between Strategy vs Tactics

So far, we have dealt with the answer to the question –” what is the difference between tactics and strategy?” 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.