Don’t confuse or conflate a “tactical victory” with a “strategic success.”

Posted on March 3, 2016

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Tactical victories are particular battles you fight and win. Strategic successes, however, are the end results of all the battles you fight and whether or not they realize the ultimate aims, goals, and objectives of an organization. It is possible to win the tactical fight, and lose the strategic goal. It is just as possible to conflate a tactical victory with a strategic success, even though they are not always the same thing.

Kodak won the tactical victory of owning 90% of the camera film market share, but they lost the photography industry, failing to understand or foresee the prevalence of the digital age; a strategic failure.

The United States won several tactical victories in the Middle East military campaigns, but failed to strategically succeed in bringing security, safety, and stability to that region and to US soil.

Tactical victories are winning the fight with your spouse. Strategic successes are behaviors that cause your marriage to grow more loving, and more intimate.

Tactical victories are about getting your way. Strategic successes are about achieving the right way.

Tactical decisions are about problems that need to be solved. Strategic decisions are about fulfilling the vision of the organization.

Tactical decisions do not necessarily influence other tactical dilemmas. Strategic decisions, on the other hand, manifestly influence every other decision in an organization.