Strategy vs Tactics

Is there a difference between the two and does it really matter?


Many are guilty of using the words 'strategy' and 'tactics' synonymously. After all, if you look them up on an online dictionary there's very little to differentiate between the two terms - but there is a difference and in the context of the business environment, it's not even that much of a subtle one.

Jeremiah Owyang says, 'strategy is done above the shoulders, tactics are done below the shoulders'.

In laymen's terms, this means that a company's strategy is devised in one's mind and tactics are the tangible actions that go into making the 'strategy' happen. They may be different, but they have to work in unison with one another if a company's mission is to come to fruition. Strategy without tactics is just a collection of ideas, there's no action and nothing that can be put into effect.

It's imperative that a company learns how to align strategy and tactics, because one without the other, as mentioned before, is useless. The difference between the two has to be communicated throughout the organisation so that the two can work in tandem, allowing the organisation to see the bigger picture quicker and more efficiently.

There is a clear distinction to be made between strategy and tactics and that should be echoed around the company. This isn't just a question of language either, if the two are confused, a company's strategy will ultimately falter as their strategic endeavours become confused. The same people who come up with 'strategy' are often not the same people who devise 'tactics' as these jobs require different skills and temperaments. Therefore, learn the difference and make sure your company practices them in a separate manner.


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