Home > Leadership, The Monday Musings Column > “We have two or three strategies that we can use this afternoon.”

“We have two or three strategies that we can use this afternoon.”

The quote is from someone connected with a sports team so perhaps I should have expected a linguistic howler or two, but aside from the amusement that the words afford there is a serious side for this individual was talking about just one element of his team’s approach to the event.

What he meant was that there two or three ways that they could deploy their tactical approach to the event: They should have had just one strategy and that ought to have been, in a nutshell, to achieve the best result that they could. You could argue that the slip was just an evolution of our language, but my point is that to achieve your goals you need to understand the difference between strategy and tactics.

The notion that there will be more than one strategy is the first error here. There should be one strategy supported by tactical plans. The strategy is the high level plan that sets out your proposed goal and the tactics are about how you get there. Many people find themselves getting bogged down trying to formulate their strategic aims because they stray into including the tactics. A good strategy can be as short as a single sentence, but the best take up less than a single side of A4. It should be simple and easy to communicate so that those who are going to implement it can understand what tactics they will employ to make the strategy happen.


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