The Difference Between Strategy and Tactics


What is the difference between a strategy and a tactic? Is it the same thing or do they address different things? Do they relate to each other in any way? We did some research on this interesting subject and want to share the results with you in our classic compact view without sugarcoating.


Both terms are derived from the Greek language. Strategy descents from stratēgia, which roughly translates into a military sense of generalship or a kind of advanced command. The word tactic comes from taktike, which means art of arrangement.


Strategy and tactics are not the same thing. Tactic is one component of a strategy and is per definition a means to achieve a particular objective. A strategy, on the other hand, is the overall plan that requires one or more tactics to be implemented in order to be fulfilled. Don’t pin me down on it, but to make things overly simple you could say strategy is what you want to achieve and tactics are the activities how you plan to achieve it.


So in direct comparison, what is the difference between a strategy and an tactics?

  • Strategy is a larger plan that can include of several tactics
  • Tactics are plans or tasks that can be carried out
  • A strategic view is more focused on the future
  • A tactical view is concentrated on the present or near future

Zeitgeist and Applicability in Business

While the original concept of these two things has a focus on military applications, in modern times the terms are commonly applied in all environments of competitive nature, such as sports or business. While strategy and tactics is not the same thing, as explained above, the usage of the terms nowadays are often considered to be interchangeable. It might not be applicable generally but in many businesses a manager or team leader could be considered a tactician, while the director or CEO is more likely to be a strategist.

Further Reading

If you would like to read further into the subject you should have a look at these books by great authors of our time.

Competitive Strategy Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors Michael PorterStrategy Safari The complete guide through the wilds of strategic management Henry Mintzberg
Strategic Intent Gary Hamel and C.K. PrahaladGood to Great Why Some Companies Make the Leap And Others Dont Jim Collins

Photo credit: Sebastiaan ter Burg / Astrid Auner

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Christopher Isak
Christopher Isak
Hi there and thanks for reading my article! I'm Chris the founder of TechAcute. I write about technology news and share experiences from my life in the enterprise world. Drop by on Twitter and say 'hi' sometime. ;)
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