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Are you a strategist or tactician?

Nov 15, 2017

Are you a strategist or tactician?  


This is a question I’ve been asking myself a lot lately. In life I categorize myself as a doer. I like being busy, but more importantly, I like to see results that come from the tasks that have kept me busy. i.e. Going back to school for my Master’s degree while working full time and repainting the inside of my house. I’d rather act and be productive – graduate with that degree, enjoy the new colors in my house while bringing home that pay check – than plan for one day in the distant future. 


That said, planning is a part of doing. Because I like to see results and understand the impact of my actions, I always start with a plan and a goal. That’s strategy.  


Up until this point I always viewed strategy and tactics as separate – in terms of job roles and how individuals work in the world. Yes, one definitely impacts and is related to the other, but I thought that you’re either a doer or an idea person. A tactician or a strategist. Not both. 


But that’s simply not true. In my job I’m often both, but tend to lean more towards tactician than strategist. That said, I’m actively working on making the shift to full strategist to not only improve my work, but to challenge myself as a leader and project manager.  


Here’s how: 


  1. Develop a process that works for me.  
    We are an organized team with processes in place that help us maintain that organization, efficiency and quality in our work. With our own individual work styles, sometimes I need to alter a process to fit the way I work. I’m a thinker, then a doer. I like time to reflect and plan before meeting with team members, implementing tactics or making final decisions. That’s how I work well and deliver quality. So rather than reacting and doing, I’m reflecting, planning, delegating then doing.  

  1. Think goals and impact, not individual tasks. 
    Often when I’m asked the question “why,” I skip straight to the how. Rather than think about the ultimate goal, I start listing tasks and assigning deadlines to get it done, crossing another item off my to-do list. While getting the client deliverables and making deadlines is part of the goal, the tasks need to ultimately answer that initial why question. I now ask myself, “Why am I targeting that audience with that piece of collateral and will it get me closer to the client’s ultimate goal?” 

  1. Leverage my strengths as a doer in strategy development. 
    I’m a tactician who often delegates to other tacticians, and we’re all in it together. So I get it. I know how much time it takes to draft a great media release or feature article. I know what good and bad feedback looks like, and how I as a tactician prefer to receive that feedback. And I know how important it is to have all the information organized and in one place so it’s easier for those doers to take action. So I can use that knowledge in the strategic planning before jumping into the weeds and crossing off those to dos. Always think about the goal first, then do. 

Tags: #PRpro #strategist