Strategy is how your beliefs inform your approach. Tactics are specific actions you take to improve your outcomes.
Strategy comes from French stratégie, the “art of a general” and the Greek strategia, the “office or command of a general”.
The general is the commander of an army, thus strategy is the art and science of military command.
Strategy is a set of specific choices made with the intent to win a battle.
Tactics are specific actions to achieve your strategic goals.
Are you focusing on the future and not getting dragged into immediate-term concerns?
Which resource allocation choices will your work dictate, and are you making that clear to others?
Are you clear about how the company can win, what it will take to win, and are you articulating this compellingly?
Can people articulate why decisions are being made or the intent they’re meant to support?
Alfred Chandler’s 1962 definitions of Strategy, Structure, and Tactics:
- Strategy: The plan for the allocation of resources to anticipated demand.
- Structure: The design for putting the enterprise’s existing resources against current demand.
- Tactics: The efficient and steady use of current resources whose allocation had already been decided.
Fast learns, slow remembers. Fast proposes, slow disposes. Fast is discontinuous, slow is continuous. Fast and small instructs slow and big by accrued innovation and by occasional revolution. Slow and big controls small and fast by constraint and constancy. Fast gets all our attention, slow has all the power. (Pace Layering: How Complex Systems Learn and Keep Learning)
Six significant levels of pace and size in the working structure of a robust and adaptable civilization. From fast to slow the levels are:
How Buildings Learn: What Happens After They’re Built:
- Space Plan
- Production and execution of plans (leverage 90 days)
- People management and training (leverage 3-12 months)
- Annual operating plans (leverage 1-2 years)
- Functions and capabilities as a source of advantage (leverage 2-5 years)
- Short and long term strategy for operating units (leverage 5-10 years)
- Corporate strategic framework, including vision, mission, and values (leverage 10-20 years)
- Diagnosis: what’s the current state? what needs to change? what do you want? What’s the real challenge here for you? Where are you now? Why? What is the compelling problem we want to solve?
- Guiding principle: What better future do we seek to make? What will we do? frame the solution, shape it, compress it, give it a metaphor, make it count.
- Coherent actions: Theory of change. What could you do? What’s the solution we envision to achieve that better future?
- Coherent: What is standing in your way? What’s stopping you from achieving the better future?
- Estimate impact: What’s the business case? Show me the money. expose your assumptions and model if we invest $X then we’ll get $Y in return.
- align to broader company priorities and strategy
- use surveys to act as evidence
- find a believable big number
- Every slide should say one thing and one thing only
- Slide titles should tell a story
- “there is an opportunity to…” instead of “You should…”
- McKinsey presentation thread
- Venkatesh Rao: Thinking in OODA Loops
- Wikipedia: Category: Strategy