Being a strategic thinker, I’ve always loved the story that described the difference between leadership and management by using a metaphor of a team fighting their way through the jungle.
Managers ensure progress is made by making sure everyone’s machetes are sharpened. Leaders climb the tallest tree and say we are going in the wrong direction – go that way instead.
Really the difference between strategy and tactics.
What the story doesn’t tell you is that strategy and tactics aren’t in competition. You need both. And that the one informs the other.
Even when headed in the right direction, if the machetes are dull you may not make progress. You may need to sharpen them.
And when the machetes are all sharp, yet the undergrowth is so thick that you still don’t make progress, you may need to climb that tree to find another way round.
I’ve had some people describe these actions as not tactics but strategic implementation.
The point is that strategy does need to be more that just thinking. It also moves forward with some doing.