Question: When creating a strategy, what’s the difference between the tactical side of the strategy or the strategic side? How do I determine what’s really important?

JOHN KNOTTS, @johnrknotts

I'm going to start with the strategic—the mission, the vision, the goals and the objectives. This is the big picture. The mission and vision should last with little adjustment year over year. The goals normally withstand several years. Objectives are on a three- to five-year cycle. If developed well, the strategic side should be very lasting and inform the tactical side.

The execution of the strategy is in the actions, as aligned to the objectives, and the measures, as aligned to the actions and operations. This is where the work is done.
Without the strategy, why are you doing the tactical? Without the execution, what did you create the strategy for? What is really important—doing it.

JOE SHEPLEY, @joeshepley

Good question, because strategy is never purely strategic: It has to be actionable to be of value, which makes it inherently tactical.

A good way to make sure your strategy is actionable is to never do strategy for strategy’s sake. Every part of your strategy should be directly tied to an end you want to achieve. So, each activity you do in creating a strategy should produce an output that helps you move closer to your end goal, whatever that is.

By approaching it this way, you don’t need to worry about what strategic work is important versus nice to have, because all of it will be aligned with the results you’re trying to achieve.

John Knotts is a results-oriented business professional working out of the San Antonio, TX area. He leads strategic transformations and has extensive experience in strategy, change, process, communication and many other areas.

Joe Shepley brings more than 12 years of operational and technology experience to his consulting engagements at Doculabs. He also currently serves as the conference chair for the DOCUMENT Strategy Forum.

This is a special Q&A in partnership with the DOCUMENT Strategy Forum. For more information on how to build the document strategy or on attending the DOCUMENT Strategy Forum, visit

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