Strategy is an overused and often abused word in the business community. People use the word strategy when they are in trouble or desperately need to change or need do something new. Losing market share and profits falling? Most people will tell you to get a new strategy.
Strategy is a process that is about choice, which affects outcomes. Wikipedia defines strategy as a long term plan of action designed to achieve a particular goal, most often “winning.”
Practically speaking, strategy is driven by long term planning and critical thought and not by reflex action to the ups and downs of the market. Knee jerk responses to an event are better described as tactics.
Tactics are the actual means used to gain an objective, while strategy is the overall plan, which may involve complex activities and decision-making. Thus, changing a price for a product is a tactic. A clever new ad campaign is a tactic. Planning to diversify the company product line by entering new markets over the next five years is a strategy.
The point is that most executives manage tactical activities on a day to day basis while most references to strategy are just lip service. This is because most small to medium sized firms don’t have strategic plans—they just wing it.
And, thus the problem.
John Bradley Jackson
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