2015-06-05 Strategic vs tactical thinking

Distinguishing between strategy and tactics has been very useful to me, and having these concepts helps me regularly executing and making better decisions.

Strategy is the high-level plan, the long-term goals, and the big picture. When being in strategic thinking mode, the focus on goals, directions, the reasons, overall design, and what is feasible, while I try not to mind how to do things specifically, nor the details.

Tactics is the lower-level tasks, the actual execution, the doing of the things, and the concrete problem solving. When being in tactical thinking mode, the focus is on problem solving, getting things done, and the how’s, while I try not to mind the why’s and bigger picture.

Being aware of what level you are thinking at, helps you focus at the tasks on hand. Of course it is more fine grained than just two levels, but being consciously aware of strategic/tactical you are working makes it possible to cut away thought distractions that is not about the task at hand.

Finding time for both strategic planning and tactical executing, is easier when differentiating between these concepts. It also reminds that both has to be attended continously and are not fixed.

Running a business includes a strategic level, where you choose what niche to focus on, what the products should be, the values and direction etc. And then the tactical level of getting projects up and running, making sales, collaborations etc.

Creating software is also a process of both levels, there is the strategy of the overall design, where to focus the effort and what to build first, and what not to include, etc. And then there is the tactical execution of actually writing the code, creating the algorithms, fixing the bugs etc.

Living a life also has strategic and tactical level. What is your strategy of approaching life, which aspects are important to you, how would you like to spend you time, the days the years, the present, the future? And then there is the tactics: working, dancing, seeing the friends, practising the music, etc.

Minding the strategy and tactics, and keeping time for each, helps me to know that I do what is important for me, both in the bigger and in the smaller picture.