If the strategy is the highest level of decisions, can there be anything beyond? Reviewing the basis of the definition and providing a new way to analyze it, you can build a little more.
A look from the perspective of Theory of Constraints
Physics doctor Eliyahu Goldratt commented publicly that despite his research, he could not find a clear definition of strategy and tactics. Most authors agree that the strategy is at the top level and the tactic at the bottom. How far does each one go? What does your classification depend on? These were questions that he could not find in the traditional bibliography.
Because of this and his interest in addressing the strategy issue, he decided to give a new definition. The strategy is what answers the question Why? In other words, it is what inspires an action. It is the top level of something that is running. The tactic is what answers the question How? It is an action or a group of actions that are carried out to fulfill an objective, a strategy.
The most interesting part of Dr. Goldratt's contribution was not this pair of definitions, which from my point of view are brilliant. What struck me the most is that from its analysis, an entity can contain both strategy and tactics, they are not different activities.
I will explain it with an example. A national soccer team participates in a world cup to achieve a goal, win the tournament. To do so, you must qualify in the group stage and several more matches in the direct elimination. Now, in each game, a strategy is defined that depends on the players, the opponent, etc. During the game, different ways of playing are applied, such as: kickbacks, or offensive play, or, laboratory plays, among others. That is, different tactics. As you can see, we have an entity called a football match that includes a strategy and a series of tactics.
Strategy and Tactic Tree
But here Goldratt's contribution does not end. One of the main causes of organizational disharmony is the lack of clarity in communication. The phrase most used by the Israeli author to refer to this problem was: "If you cannot clearly communicate your intuition, you will only communicate confusion." To avoid this lack of clarity, it is essential to communicate the reasons for one action or another. These reasons are known in the Theory of Constraints as "assumptions." These are the basic beliefs that explain the need and sufficiency of the actions. There are three types of assumptions: of necessity; parallels and sufficiency. In this way, each entity explains why it is necessary, what it wants to achieve and how it will be achieved.
In order to define the strategy of an organization, it is necessary to relate the most impactful objectives of the organization and the first operational level actions. To achieve this relationship, the entities described must be connected to a hierarchy and must have a sequence to follow.
To facilitate the understanding and execution of this process, Dr. Goldratt agrees with Dr. Alan Barnard the need to have an organization dedicated to disseminating and automating this knowledge. Goldratt Research Labs is currently the company that is responsible for this function. The way to design, validate, plan, execute and audit is supported by Harmony, at this address you can find more information on the subject: www.harmonytoc.com. This is the base structure of a Strategy and Tactic Tree, this was the name that Dr. Goldratt gave to its development.
Leading the change
This is one of the most robust tools that Dr. Goldratt himself had built. In general, decisive competitive advantages can be grouped into Reliability and Availability. The first applies to organizations that sell products and that the customer is willing to wait for their production. The second has to do with companies that have customers who are not willing to wait, therefore it requires having available inventory. From these two you can derive more specific solutions such as Projects, where the application has specific variants, as well as Wholesalers and Retails. Organizations can respond to mixed solutions that can also be included in the Strategy and Tactics Tree that is defined.
Companies, with and without profit, generally have clearly defined strategic components, such as the mission, vision, values and the route that apparently achieves them, such as budgets and plans. Unfortunately, current results show that something is needed, maybe clarity, maybe an innovation process or maybe rethink the processes. The only thing I can assure is that this tool can give clarity and sufficiency to align all the members of an organization. It defines the north and the path to follow, the beliefs of support and the way to invalidate them, as well as the project management necessary to execute said strategy. This is relevant, since in how to do things, or in tactics is where the key to organizational success and excellence is.