We’ve all been in meetings that have been taken off track with an accusation that “we’ve gone in the weeds” by talking tactics, not strategy. But, as someone who spends a good deal of time in the world of strategy, I have to admit: I like talking tactics.
Tactics are… tactile.
There is an obvious value in strategy. It’s where game-changing priorities can be set. Where meaningful connections can be made. And where important investments can be justified.
But when we talk strategy, we speak at a high level. At that high level, details are – by necessity – left undefined. Conversations that seem to be on the same page can, in reality, can be all over the proverbial white board.
I believe that it’s never too early to talk tactics. Doing so can even help refine strategy – by allowing for tangible examples. So don’t fear talking tactics. Just follow these simple rules:
- Stay honest. Be clear you’re indeed talking about a tactic. Tactics aren’t bad. They just aren’t strategies. Like a strategy, they are a means towards an end. But they have the benefit of usually leaving less room for interpretation.
- Stay flexible. Don’t get attached too early. There is more than one way to skin a cat. The tactics are the ways. The strategy is the skinning. Don’t need to skin a cat? There are tactics for that, too.
- Stay respectful of the bigger picture. Value the strategy. Don’t sacrifice it in the name of a tactic. Just know that the more comfortable you can be giving both a seat at the table, the better the end result.
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