Tactical and strategic are two characters that seem to be at odds with each other. It’s as if one is oil and the other is water. That if you’re a strategic thinker, you’re not a tactical thinker. Or if you’re doing strategic work, then your work is not tactical, and will take a long time. I don’t think this needs to be true.
Doing the strategic work properly takes time. For example, if you’re seeking insight into the latent needs of your customers to base a forward looking product portfolio upon, this is not something that is done in four weeks with a few interviews and desktop research. You will want to engage different thought leaders and trend makers from different industries, you’ll need to study the behaviour people have currently within the context of your exploration and you’ll need to understand the trends and their trajectories (and rates of change). All of this takes time. And investing in this type of strategic work is very important.
Though it doesn’t need to be at the expense of tactical wins. I think it needs to be an ‘and’ relationship between strategy and tactics. The tactics enables the strategic work to remain relevant to the current pressures of the business. The tactics provide the momentum for the strategic work, and provide an opportunity to craft a place for the strategic insight to land within the organisation. Communication design is an essential member of the tactical tool kit to an otherwise long term strategic initiative. Though we also need to think beyond comms.
Some questions to consider: How can we bring the emerging thoughts and ideas into context now? What piece of new knowledge about the future can be incorporated into decision making today so that we can feel the value of the strategic work now?
Thinking about the meaningful creation of our realities is an inherently strategic pursuit. Though nothing will happen if we don’t put things into practice now. We need to ensure that our thinking and our approaches are strategic AND tactical, so that they can be connected to future meaning and current reality.