Strategic vs. Tactical

Strategic vs. Tactical

Strategic and Tactical are two commonly confused words. They each pertain to a similar subject but are used differently.

Strategic (adjective) means

1. involving a long-term or high-level plan for achievement of some overall aim

2. located carefully to serve a particular purpose

3. important for a military purpose, esp. out of proportion to importance in a civilian sense.

Let's review some examples:

1. Meaning (high-level planning): "Microsoft's board of directors meets regularly to discuss strategic issues like the product lines it will invest in over the next five years and the anticipated size of its workforce."

2. Meaning (located carefully): "Large cellular service providers build their towers and routing stations in strategic places to minimize overall connection times."

3. Meaning (military importance): "Although Winchester, VA was not a large manufacturing or agricultural center, it was of strategic importance to both sides during the Civil War because of its location at the head of the Shenandoah Valley."

Tactical (adjective) means

1. describing actions intended to produce a short-term goal in a specific way

2. intended to accomplish aims other than the obvious

Let's consider the meanings of tactical in a few sample sentences:

1. Meaning (short-term actions): "The officer called in a tactical air strike on the enemy position, to prepare for the infantry assault intended to liberate the city."

2. Meaning (non-obvious aims): "I ran for the school board as a tactical move, to give me some control over my children's school lunches."

*Hint/Tip: Tactics are actions that we take in order to meet some larger strategy. Things that are tactical tend to be individual, very specific, steps or actions. Things that are strategic are more long-term plans; they may be less well-defined but larger in scope.

Let's use both strategic and tactical together in a sentence:

"To elect Mr. Smith to the Senate, his campaign used tactical purchases of commercial air time in strategic markets across the state."

Circle the Correct Answer:

1. I went up to bunt, as a strategic / tactical move to advance the base runner from second to third.

2. By making a few strategic / tactical hires in our Sales department, we expect to triple our revenue in the next 2 years.

Answers: tactical /strategic

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Difference between Words
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