We all have used the words Strategies and Tactics together at some point in our lives. Both terms are typically used together, but despite that, most of us do not happen to know the difference between them and end up using them interchangeably.
The primary difference between a Strategy and a Tactic is that the former can be best described as a plan to attain something, whereas the latter can be best described as a method or a way to attain the concerned plan.
Comparison Between Strategies and Tactics
|Meaning||It refers to the act of planning various things to achieve certain organizational goals and objectives. It involves planning what would be the goals, who will do them, how the work would need to get carried out, etc||It refers to a way or a method of actually working to achieve the things defined in the Strategies. It involves the employees working to ensure all the organizational goals and objectives are achieved.|
|Formulated by||It is formulated by top-level management that involves the board of directors, owner, CEO, etc. as these people know their organization or business better, and thus, they are the ones who have the responsibility of formulating their organization’s goals and objectives for the betterment of their organization.||It is majorly done by the middle level and lower level management as the main work to achieve the defined objectives and goals are done by the employees existing at the middle and lower level management.|
|Duration||One of its notable features is that these plans are always set for a longer period or long run as first the overall objectives and goals of the organization are set which happen to be of longer duration.||It is always done for a shorter period as everyone in an organization does not directly start working for the long-run goals. First, every department breaks down the main goal into several smaller ones and the work is done accordingly.|
|Sequence||It always comes before the Tactics stage as first, the necessary planning has to be done then the work has to be done as per the planning. It is not possible to work for something without any goal or objective.||It always comes after the Strategies stage as once we know about the plans and what are the desired goals and objectives, only then we can start working to ensure we are moving in the right direction.|
|Nature||It is considered to be competitive in nature, as when we formulate plans, we have to keep in mind what our competitors are doing. Always the planning takes place in such a way that our organization outsmarts our competitive organizations.||It is considered to be preventive as we can not control the dynamics of business environments in Strategic planning but we can take relevant steps as risks and uncertainties arise during actually working towards the organizational goals.|
|Focuses on||It is known for focusing on the planning part of any organization’s goal or objective.||It is known for focusing on the execution or implementation of defined plans.|
|Orientation||It is estimated to have a future orientation as when we are planning for things, we are only doing it for the future.||It happens to be present-oriented as the actual work that is done to achieve the organizational goals is done in the present.|
|Flexibility||It is concerned with lower flexibility in comparison to the flexibility associated with Tactics as first it emphasizes forming long-run plans which can be a little difficult to re-formulate if the needs arise due to the dynamic nature of the business environment. And second, even if the plans can be reformulated, still it is not any easier to do so as they are the overall plans which will affect the work done and the whole organization.||It is concerned with higher flexibility in comparison to the flexibility involved in strategic planning as mostly it is associated with breaking down the overall goals into smaller ones and then working on them. Thus since the stages are short-run, it becomes easier to change things as per the dynamics of the business environment.|
|Risk||The risk involved in Strategies happens to be greater than the risk involved in Tactics as these planning are associated with lower flexibility and use longer durations.||The risk involved in Tactics happens to be lower than the risk involved in Strategies as it is linked with greater flexibility and works for a short duration.|
|Approach||It is linked with using a proactive approach which involves planning for every possible outcome that could arise in the future from every angle and then planning for every measure that could be used to overcome different scenarios.||It is linked with using a reactive approach which involves taking measures for different scenarios only when they arise, and not pre-planning for anything.|
|Also known as||It is also known as an action plan.||It is also known simply as an action.|
Major Differences Between Strategies and Tactics
What Exactly Is a Strategy?
It refers to any plan formulated for defining the objectives, purpose, or goals for the organization or business’ betterment, along with the planning of work that needs to be done to achieve those goals.
The task of formulating these plans is always carried out by the top-level management, such as by the board of directors, owners, or CEO, and it always happens to be future-oriented as, at this point, we are only planning things that are yet to take place. People who do the work of formulating these plans are known as Strategists.
Strategy Key Differences
- It can be best defined as simply a plan. In any organization or even in our lives, we plan a lot of things to achieve something we want. This planning to achieve our goals and defining how to achieve those goals is referred to as a Strategy.
- Speaking of it, in reference to any business or organization, the task of formulating these plans is carried out by top-level management. Since they are responsible for deciding what is best for their organization, they are the ones to define the plans and goals for their organization.
- A hallmark feature of these plans is that they are always future-oriented. As in this stage, we are only defining the objectives or purpose or goals of the organization, the work on those goals is yet to be done, and we are entirely planning out things.
- In the process of framing goals and working on them, Strategies always come first, as without first defining the objectives or goals, the work on it can not be done. Thus, Strategies are to be done before Tactics.
- In comparison with Tactics, these plans are less flexible. Once we define the goals, there may come the point where it is neither possible to implement those plans nor formulate new plans due to the dynamic nature of the business environment.
What Exactly Is a Tactic?
It refers to any task or a way or a method done to achieve the framed plans or Strategies. In basic terms, it refers to the actual work done to achieve an organization’s or business’s goals or objectives.
It is concerned with being in action to achieve the desired results. The task of putting all the actual work or being in action is done by the middle and lower level management, and it always happens to be present-oriented, wherein we are doing the actual work in the present to achieve the set goals. People who oversee and command other people to put in work are known as Tacticians.
Tactics Key Differences
- It can be best defined as a method or a way of achieving pre-defined goals and objectives as set by the Strategic planning of any organization or business. It is working towards those defined goals or plans to ensure the fulfillment of those objectives. This working towards goals is simply referred to as Tactics.
- Since the top-level management is focused on framing the Strategies for their business or organization, the middle and lower-level management implements various methods to ensure the fulfillment of those Strategies.
- The trademark feature of these is that they always happen to be present-oriented. This stage is focused on working towards achieving organizational goals, i.e., working in the present every day until the plans are achieved, or they may not be achieved.
- In the business world, to achieve anything, Tactics always come after Strategies, as the work is always done after planning.
- In comparison with Strategies, these happen to be associated with more flexibility in nature, as the task being carried out in the present can always be framed as per the dynamic nature of the business environment.
Contrast Between Strategies and Tactics
- Strategy – It can be best defined as formulating a plan or planning an organization’s objectives or goals and how to achieve them.
In this stage, the only work that is done is planning things such as starting with setting up goals, planning which tactical method would be perfect for achieving those framed goals, what happens if there is an uncalculated risk, what happens if there is a need of changing the goals, etc.
- Tactic – It can be best defined as a method or way or the actual work done to achieve what has been planned for the organization or business.
Most of the work regarding the organizational goals is to be done in this stage as it is the time when the actual work is done by everyone to keep moving onto the path of achieving the organizational goals and objectives.
- Strategy – Since it focuses on the formulation of the overall objectives and goals of the organization; thus, the task of defining these plans is always done by the top-level management as this level consists of the board of directors, owners, and a CEO, who knows their organization better than anyone else, thus, they are the ones who define the organizational goals.
- Tactic – Since it is concerned with actually putting in effort and getting the work done, thus, the task of actually doing the work to achieve the organizational goals is done by middle-level and lower-level management.
- Strategy – The trademark feature of these plans is that these plans are typically made for a longer duration compared to the duration of Tactics.
Whenever an organization’s overall objectives or goals are framed, these always tend to be made for a longer duration.
These plans are later broken down into shorter plans as we move down to other levels of management, i.e., middle and lower levels. But overall, Strategic plans are always made for the long run.
- Tactic – The hallmark feature of these is that they always tend to be of short duration than the duration of Strategies.
When the employees are working to meet the organizational goals, they directly do not start working for the overall goals, but first, various short-run goals are defined, and then work is done to achieve them, and slowly, the organizational goals are achieved.
- Strategy – It always comes before the Tactics stage, as we can not do any work if we do not know the relevant plans and organizational goals, objectives, or purposes. This is the stage that forms the basis of what kind of work has to be done and how it has to be done.
- Tactic – It always comes after the Strategies have been defined. After that, we are familiar with the relevant objectives or goals, and now we can start working effectively and efficiently to achieve those desired objectives and goals.
- Strategy – The nature of these plans happens to be competitive as the planning or framing of the Strategies is done by keeping in mind what other organizations or other competitors are doing in the market competition. The planning is done in such a way that the organization outsmarts the other competitive firms.
- Tactic – The nature of these methods happens to be preventive as the main motive of this phase is to prevent a lot of mishappenings, especially the uncertainties that arise from dynamic business environments. This can also be understood by the fact that Tactics are associated with shorter duration, making preventing risks and uncertainties easier.
- Strategy – It entirely focuses on planning things for the betterment of an organization or a business. Anything more than planning is not done at this stage.
- Tactic – It completely focuses on the implementation or execution of the set plans made in the Strategy stage. This is the stage where the actual work is done to achieve relevant goals.
- Strategy – It is associated with being future-oriented as, in this stage, we only work by planning everything and setting the organizational goals and objectives. Here we are not doing anything in the present to attain those set plans; instead, we are only planning for the future yet.
- Tactic is associated with being present-oriented as this is the stage where the actual work is done to achieve the plans set out in the Strategy stage. Here we do all the work that needs to be done in the present to achieve the desired organizational goals.
- Strategy – There is not much flexibility when we are framing relevant plans or Strategies because of two reasons.
First, being here, we make plans for a longer duration. Second, once we have defined the long-run plans, it is not any easier to change or manipulate them once they are set when things do not work in our way due to the dynamic nature of business environments.
- Tactic – This stage offers greater flexibility than what Strategic plans offer as here the overall goals are broken down into various short-run goals, and work is done as per those goals; thus, it becomes easier to work and manipulate things if everything does not go in our ways.
- Strategy – It is also associated with greater risk than the risk associated with Tactics, as this stage is not only concerned with formulating long-run plans but is also concerned with offering lesser flexibility.
- Tactic – It is associated with lesser risk than the risk involved in Strategic planning as this stage is concerned with offering greater flexibility and works for short-run goals at a time, making it easier to influence things as per the business environment and uncertainties.
- Strategy – It makes use of a proactive approach which can be best described as being ready in advance for everything. This approach likes to be prepared for every scenario that can arise and plan for all the measures that need to be taken if any of the planned scenarios arise in the future.
- Tactic – It makes the use of a reactive approach which is concerned with dealing with issues as and when they arise. This approach does not believe in being ready in advance for any problems and deals with them directly as and when they arise.
Also Known As
- Strategy – Since it is concerned with formulating plans for organizational goals and objectives and how the work would be carried out, it is also known as an action plan.
- Tactic – Since it is concerned with actually doing the work to achieve the desired results of the pre-defined plans, it is also referred to as simply an action.
The usage of Strategies and Tactics go hand in hand and often make people get confused between them as both carry numerous similarities.
The major difference between a Strategy and a Tactic is that the former is concerned with planning things or formulating an action plan, whereas the latter is concerned with working out to achieve those defined plans.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is the orientation of Strategies and Tactics?
The former is considered to be future-oriented as it involves the formulation of plans which are to be made for the future, while the latter is considered to be present-oriented as it involves doing the actual work to achieve the goals for which the plans have been made.
What is a proactive approach?
This approach can be best defined as planning for every possible outcome that could arise in the future from every angle and then planning for every measure that could be used to overcome different scenarios.
What is a reactive approach?
This approach can be best defined as taking measures for different scenarios only when they arise and not pre-planning for anything.
What do Strategies and Tactics focus on?
The former focuses on planning things, whereas the latter is concerned with implementing those plans set in the strategic stage.
What are the major differences between a Strategy and a Tactic?
The major difference between a Strategy and a Tactic is that the former is associated with planning, is formulated by top management, and uses a proactive approach, whereas the latter is associated with actually working, is done by middle and lower management, and uses a reactive approach.
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