Do you know the difference between vision, strategy and tactics?

Do you know the difference between vision, strategy and tactics?

Everything is strategic these days; at least, that’s the implication driving the reams of literature, news stories and blog posts these days. Everyone and everything seems to be “strategic in nature”. Some even refer to “strategic vision” or “strategic tactics”.

Most of this discourse belongs to the office of redundancy bureau.

The fact is that these terms are all related but unique and distinct.

Vision is an over-arching theme or principal that guides all activities. A firm or individual should always be striving to achieve a given vision, but it is never something that can be fully achieved, which is precisely why it serves as a vision. This may sound odd, but think of Google’s vision statement as a practical example. Google is big, profitable and still growing, so clearly it must be doing something right. Here is the firm’s vision statement:

To make the world’s information universally accessible and useful.


Every day, the world adds more information, and every day, technology allows us to make that information more accessible and useful. As practical and easy to understand as Google’s goal is, it is something that can never be fully achieved.

Strategy, by contrast is achievable. Is that articulation of a plan that helps an organization fulfill its vision and the allocation of resources necessary to execute. This second part, the allocation of resources, is often neglected in strategy formation. Getting back to Google, the firm’s strategy includes not only its primary search engine, but its advertising network, it’s social network and it’s mobile efforts. Each of these provides means and mechanisms by which Google can gather data, make it more accessible and monetize the value it delivers as a function thereof.

Tactics are the steps one takes in order to execute a strategy. Despite the emphasis on “all things strategic”, tactics are no less important than strategy or vision, because without tactics, there is nothing more than pie-in-the sky wishful thinking. But if tactics can be thought of as steps, then strategy is the consistent effort to make 10 steps every day, and vision is the idea of walking always due East.

Without a strategy and a vision to guide one’s steps, one runs the risk of taking two steps forward, three back, four to the left, and two in a circle. Effort is made, but it doesn’t necessarily translate to progress.

What’s your firm’s vision? Is it practical and easy to understand, but ever-guiding like Google’s? Does your strategy align to your vision? How well does your organization do when it comes to tactical implementation? Need help with any of the above? Feel free to contact us. Maybe we can help.

About the Kabardian Group: We help clients achieve profitable growth. Short, simple and to the point. Our clients include companies large and small and at every stage of their development, including start-ups.

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