initiatives are sometimes called strategic, when they’re really just tactical. if it’s an issue of semantics, where you’re mishandling a word but understand the broad concepts, then that’s perfectly cool. the one thing you can’t afford is desperate activity — where you’re tactical without first being truly strategic. if you’re impatient and that’s why you haven’t thought strategically, then it’s time to find that inner strength. if you feel that strategy is too much thinking and not enough action, then it’s time to realize that others are using their strategies to achieve greater ends than you. anyone can get busy with tactics. there’s a huge difference between working hard and working smart.

so let’s take a look at the difference between the two concepts. if you’re familiar with the military application of the terms, then you know that strategy is the highest of tier of planning. tactics are the lowest. in between is the operational level, where strategies are converted to tactics.

every businessperson has allowed his or herself to jump past strategy and operations to tactics. it’s easy to justify. better to do something than nothing. talk is cheap. don’t just sit there. the list of cliches goes on and on. however, we also know that time and energy are both limited. haste makes waste. with a little bit of upper level planning, the effort you put into tactics will help you to capitalize and achieve entirely different results. you will have a firmer resolve as you hit the battleground running. your focus is sharper. actions will mean more to you because they fit into a bigger picture. one can easily argue that just having a strategy — any strategy— will make each tactic more meaningful and impacting.

so do yourself a favor. be strategic. truly strategic. don’t just rush into the marketing tactic of the month because someone pitched you to consider it. even if someone you know benefitted from a measure, carefully consider how much you are like him or her — how your goods, information and talents might fare with same. when you have a strategic plan, you will be armed to make the quick decisions you feel yourself wanting to make. that’s because you will know your goals and how various speculative actions can or cannot reinforce them.

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