I was asked about strategy versus tactics and thought that I’d revive and revise a prior post on the topic.
Several years ago, I read a review in a magazine for consultants of a new book by an “expert” who advises that since business now moves at the speed of light, the “old” strategic question of “where do you want to be X years from now?” must now be “where do you want to be a few days from now?” That’s total B.S.!
Perhaps if doing business is limited to posting on Twitter, imagining until next Tuesday is a long term view. But it is sheer lunacy if you are running a real business, especially a medical group or other healthcare business.
Too many physician groups either have no strategic plan and are therefore totally reactive to events, or have a plan of sorts that actually consists of unintegrated tactics. This has contributed in no small part to physicians’ loss of control over healthcare.
Strategy is the map of your intended destination, not simply of each individual stop along a way that is left to chance. Tactics are steps in the implementation of strategy.
You want to be able to implement tactics and to change them as necessary as quickly as possible — on a few days or even a few moments notice. But those tactics are only important if they are aligned with your group’s overall business strategy; they are not a substitute for a strategy. And, if you plan on being in business a few years from now, your strategic view has to be at least that long … or much longer.