Strategy and Tactics

There is a funny thing that happens when consultants are around each other. They keep using big important words. One such set of words that get thrown around a lot is strategy and tactics.

I heard these words over and over. Even people had it in their official job responsibilities. It made me wonder, what do I know about strategy and tactics?

A little, but not a lot.


Strategy - the art of devising or employing plans or stratagems toward a goal Tactic - a device for accomplishing an end

It turns out that strategy is about long term thinking. It’s about a goal further than what is right in front of you. So, you could have a strategy to win a war. You might have one to make the best fighting unit.

Tactics, on the other hand, are the individual choices or orders you make. Without a strategy, they feel disjointed or odd. A combination of tactics fulfills a strategy.

So What

Well, this is where my road kind of ends. See, I’ve been around lots of people who have used these words, and rarely have I seen them used with any visible material.

One notable example is with Wardley Mapping. That technique is expansive and incredible, and using it you can begin to form long term ideas and moves to make. This is strategy.

Other things I’ve been thinking of is writing my own strategy for aspects of my life and career. I want to try and make them visible.

One challenge is how I would word my strategy. I’ve been thinking through a few things that may help.

  • It needs to be a heuristic
  • It needs to have context
  • It needs boundaries
  • Less is more

So, for a heuristic, what I’m converging on is that while it can’t tell me what to do, it can point me in a direction. I will have to use my judgment for the tactic I employ that is consistent with the strategy.

An example of a strategy would be: Close the loop with clients

Now, that has meaning for me. I may choose a tactic of regular debriefs, seeking testimonials, or writing case studies. That’s my choice, and each one is consistent with the strategy.

For context, I need the strategy to be appropriate to when and where I am. So I want strategies for my consultancy, strategies for my life, and so-on. They need to exist within those contexts and further be appropriate for now.

Boundaries are something I’m feeling out. Now, the idea is that strategies benefit from knowing when they are to be employed and when not to. Sort of like a set of conditions that if it is valid at a high level, I employ the strategy.

Here’s another example:

Create agreement Use when:

  • Working with other consultants
  • Engaging with non-clients
  • A need for new opportunities exists

I’ve given some boundaries to when I should consider this strategy, and when I may not.

I think there is a feeling like I could go overboard creating dozens of strategies, but I need to stay focused on just the few I need here and now. So, in effect, less is more is a meta-strategy.

I’d love to know how you all craft, organize, and communicate your strategies.