The Difference Between Vision, Strategy and Tactics

Posted by Ryann Malone - August, 28 2015

Let's keep today's lesson short. People get vision, strategy and tactics confused all the time, but the differences are pretty simple really:

VISION—Where you’re going and why.
STRATEGY—How you’re going to get there.
TACTICS—What you do along the way.

Your vision is the big picture. It's your marching orders; your reason to come to work; your essence. It drives everything you do, and if it's not, then it certainly well should.

Some people, especially senior management, tend to denigrate tactics, like they are not strategic. They are, in fact, the embodiment of a good strategy (as long as there is one), and without a focus on consistent execution, the strategy is meaningless. The Covey Group (7 Habits of Highly Effective People) have done thousands of executive seminars, and always start by asking everyone to raise their hand that has a good strategy for their companies. Almost all hands go up. Then they ask them to keep their hands up if they consistently execute the tactics to get there. Almost all hands go down.

Strategy is good, and tactics bad. (At least tactics, without a strategy.)

Strategy and tactics are the yin and the yang to actually accomplishing your vision.

Hope that helps.


Kirk Arnold is the Client Service Director at Alchemy at AMS. His full title is Executive Director of Client Service and Strategy, but that is just too crazy long.

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