When to Be Strategic

Strategy 2

In due course of any given day, we are busy at work, knocking off the tasks on our to-do lists.

Yet, rarely do we stop and ask: Am I working on the right problem?

This is not meant to be a trivial or flippant observation. We may be very hard at work, and producing copious volumes of output.

But – are we actually doing the proper things that need to be done, or merely, those that are the most expedient? Are we cognizant of the Strategic, as well as the Tactical?

Why is this important?

Because everything you do in your organization begins – and ends – with your strategic initiatives. Every conversation. Every decision. Every assignment. Every project.

It is the superstructure that gives shape to your culture, to your management, and to your financial planning.

And yet – we are continually swamped with the immediate, with the needful now. We are daily disintermediated by the crisis of the hour – which leeches and robs us of our drive, focus, and energy needed to accomplish our ultimate goals and targets.

So – how do we keep the main thing, the main thing?

  • By communicating to our colleagues and direct reports, explicitly, our strategic initiatives;
  • By daily discriminating between what is tactically within our strategic objectives, and removing anything that detracts from our core mission;
  • And by constantly monitoring our activities, to insure we are holding true to our strategic plan.

Organizational politics, economics, and unforeseen crises will test your resolve.

It is incumbent upon you as a leader, manager, and educator to keep strategy front and center – at the water cooler, in the board room, and in the classroom.

Go, and be you.


Strategy and Tactics


Most of us approach our jobs in a very task-oriented fashion. We begin the day, with a list of “to dos” to be performed, and laying out some plan of attack to get our work done.

Completing these atomic elements of work is largely how our performance is judged. Anything that gets in the way of this is a distraction.

For the most part, we nominally consider these tasks “our job”; but, they are actually only the tactical means by which we do our job, and should be part of a larger strategy, dictating why we do the things we do.

When our strategies aren’t in alignment with the tactics we use to carry out that strategy, we’re doing tremendous harm. Maybe we’re touting a strategy of strong customer service, but purposefully implementing bait-and-switch tactics, or understaffing customer call in lines. Or, we espouse a strategy of being a low-cost leader, but implement a high-cost model of acquisition of labor or services, that makes this premise a fool’s errand.

It’s not enough to be tactically clever, but strategically short-sided. It’s even more ineffectual to have great strategy, but poor tactical execution. It might be better to simply call this what it really is: incompetence.

Great companies have strong processes in place, for developing and communicating strategy, throughout their entire organization; and, they equip their people with the appropriate tools and training, in order to develop and execute the tactics necessary to actualize their strategic mission.

When all the elements of great strategy and tactics align, you have companies like Amazon and Southwest dominating their respective spaces. I really don’t need to name those companies that fail this test; you already know, and avoid, them.

To truly master your job, you have to know more than how to perform the tactical duties you think are your job. By understanding the strategy behind what you do, you can performs with 100% confidence and authority.

And help make where you work, great.

Go, and be you.