Strategy In Engineering

Strategy vs. Tactics

Written by Charles Nelson - October 8, 2021

Which is more important? Easy to think that it’s Strategy since it has to come before the Tactics that implement it, or that it Strategy’s sweep is greater.

If Strategy is finding the right targets, Tactics is crafting arrows that can hit the bullseye. Without them, the target is useless.

There’s another problem. Watch a Strategist at work. They don’t want to “sweat the small stuff”. The Stratgic Planner can wave his arms and say “Take that hill!” Without some Tacticians to figure out HOW to do it, the mandate is meaningless.

I’ve always thought it interesting that business guru Edward de Bono, in his 1985 book TACTICS: The Art and Science of Success, relegates Strategy to a short Chapter 7.

Without a Strategist to aim them at more distant targets, Tacticians will keepfinding better ways to chip away at the problems in front of them. They will find better ways to make arrowheads. They will add feathers to the arrow shafts. But without Tacticians, Strategists become impotent.

Steve Jobs observed “Ideas are worth nothing unless executed. Execution is worth millions.”

So: If you see yourself as a Tactician, burnish your craft. It’s an art and a science. And give the brilliant but details-challenged Strategists a helping hand, to lend form to, to realise, their concepts. You need each other equally.

Charles Nelson

October 7th, 2021