An action carefully planned to achieve a specific end.
We use the terms strategy & tactics interchangeably. We find it hard to differentiate between the two. For a layman both the words basically mean the same, but there is a difference between the two. Very Simply put strategy is more to do with planning & tactics is how to implement the planning. Strategy is more broad, macro & general; while tactics is more specific & micro in nature. Strategy is the “what” part of the equation and helps you answer the question, “What are we trying to accomplish?” while tactics is the “how” part of the equation. Your tactics help you answer the question, “How are we going to accomplish our goal?” Strategies are plans while tactics is action leading to the plan.
The entire corporate world stresses on strategies. You will see seminars, partner level meetings, group discussion on strategies, but sometimes people forget the importance of tactics. Whom to hire, how many to hire is all a part of the strategy but how to get work done from employees is a basic form of tactics. Simply put, in the corporate world; the Board of Directors create the strategies, while the management executes these strategies by taking tactical decisions.
The underlying differentiating factor between an ineffective boss and a good leader is the tactics they employ. Some bosses shout the house down for an effect, while few just make employees quiver by staring at them, sometimes a word of appreciation to an employee can see a tremendous change in his performance. How to instill fear in employees, how to get the work done, how to be an effective negotiator, how to intimidate, how to approach prospective clients are all tactical decisions. Also office politics, which is one of the most common issues in all multinational firms and big Indian corporates can only be addressed by an employee by taking the right tactical decisions.
There can be four different scenarios here, Right Strategy & Right Tactics, Right Strategy & Wrong Tactics, Wrong Strategies & Right Tactics and Wrong Strategies & Wrong Tactics.
Right Strategy & Right Tactics
- Bhartiya Janta Party: – This lok sabha election, BJP ran a more presidential election type of campaign, by depicting Narendra Modi as the prime ministerial candidate & his achievements in Gujarat were highlighted. Also the issues on which the election was fought by BJP was good governance, development & fightagainst increase in price rice was a good strategy but it was brilliantly executed by the Master Tactician Amit Shah in the states like UP & Bihar where BJP managed unprecedented and unexpected results, giving BJP simple majority to form a government on its own.
- Zara: – Zara’s strategy of fresh & low inventory has made it one of the most globally successful brands. It has managed to make a phenomenal entry in India. Their tactics were opening shops in the best malls in prime locations in key cities. Zara follows a revenue sharing model with malls, rather than fixed rent, this has seen developers bending backwards to accommodate the brand. This combination of the right strategy with effective tactics, Zara clocks the highest per square-foot sales in the industry.
- Right Strategy & Wrong Tactics
- Aam Admi Party: – had a very good strategy of anti-corruption, but due to one tactical blunder, ensured that they got a measly 4 seats out of over 400 seats in which they contested. Here AAP’s decision was to fight on clean governance as an anti-corruption being the prime focus was a strategic decision; while Arvind Kejriwal resigning from the post of chief minister of Delhi was a tactical decision.
Brazil Fifa World Cup 2014 : – Having a Fifa World Cup in different nations every four years is the correct strategy, but keeping it Brazil, where common people are struggling with basic issues like food, education & healthcare was clearly the wrong tactics. Brazil is a country where football is considered to religion, yet there have been massive protests for this world cup.
Wrong Strategy & Right Tactics
- Lehman Brothers : – Lehman Brothers are infamous for their strategy of leveraging. In its last annual financial statements, showed accounting leverage of 30.7 times. They made lots of money when the markets were going up, but collapsed in the 2008 bubble burst, so although the right tactics were applied, the wrong strategy led to the company filing for bankruptcy.
- Mamta Banerjee driving away Tata Nano from West Bangal : – Mamta Banerjee drove away Tata motors plant from singur, West Bengal, she was in the opposition at that time, although she has hence been elected chief minister of Bengal; all major business houses will think twice before setting up factory there. So the looser in this case shall be the people of West Bengal.
Wrong Strategy & Wrong Tactics
In most companies which close down in recession is due to using the wrong strategies and wrong tactics. It is a combination for failure.
So to conclude, although there is a thin line between strategy and tactics; they are different yet both of them are integral in the path to success. Implementing one without the other is ineffective and counter – productive.
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Contributed by guest writer Shreyam Shah, Director at Tee Vetures India Private Limited