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Friday, February 17, 2006

Strategy Vs Tactical – Its Both

Chad Dickerson writes about how big company managers routinely describe themselves as either “tactical” or “strategic.” The strategy camp may look down on the tactical camp and vice versa. Chad finds Marc Hedlund’s post about Web 2.0 development practices confirm this view: More often, though, the developers and the CEO respond to the majority of the support email. CEO's openly say that they respond to about 80% of all the mail they receive. How better to know what people are saying about your product? he asked.
“Strategies” are big and sweeping and inherently pass the task of implementation to someone else. Tactics are inherently all about executing. I particularly liked this one from Chad - The distance between “strategic” and “tactical” is measured in meetings, PowerPoints, conference calls, and, well, “not writing code.” Listen to analyst calls/read transcripts – you can see this in action. Limiting (or even mostly eliminating) that distance is the key to making things happen. Emphasizing that strategy directly combined with tactical skill is the real killer combo. “Strategy” in the absence of tactical engagement is a loser’s game and concludes that the tactical is the strategic today. Scott Gatz has the right approach - winning companies have always recognized that there is a need for combination of both. When a company doesn’t get it - that values tactical execution over strategy OR values those people who talk strategy but want others to “do the dirty work” - then it is likely that the company is headed for trouble in today’s competitive world.
In my view the ability to zoom in and out makes the difference – the question of one in place of other does not hold good where the cycle time for every possible type of enterprise activity is drastically coming down. Its like the Yin and the Yang – Think & Do etc. While being action oriented may make everyone feel busy – too often without a strategic intent , too much of activities may get mistaken for achievements. I also believe that both feed upon each other. Wherever theloop gets closed in realtime/very fast, the results are better. But in general I have seen across industries,that organizations with better strategic engines and good to average execution mechanisms clearly outperforming organisations with average strategic edge with even superior execution engines - such organisations generally degenerate into serving commoditized segments -its another matter that they may do well there -thats till the next wave come and engulfs the space. I think the size of the enteprise matters a lot here. In large enterprises where planning horizons are longer, we can see the emphasis of strategy & planning more pronounced. Large enterprises may get buffeted between annual budgets and targets – incapacitating them to take quick big and bold decisions. Some large enterprises run the risk of calendared into decisions when markets can move faster- case in point look at the acquisition & consolidation binge in the enterprise software industry and it may not be good for consulting companies to wait for annual meets to finalise strategies for improving market share/consolidating strengths.

Category : StrategicVs Tactical,
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Sadagopan's Weblog on Emerging Technologies, Trends,Thoughts, Ideas & Cyberworld
"All views expressed are my personal views are not related in any way to my employer"