Strategy Without Tactics is Futile

From time to time there seems to be a flurry of studies and surveys on effective communication in the workplace. As a communication specialist, I'm always eager to read these studies, but am often disappointed with what I see. That's because they all seem to be about communication strategy.

? We must put in place strategies to get our message out to our various publics.

? We must have a communication strategy so that our image and reputation will be disseminated in the way we want it.

It all sounds so one-sided, and even worse, so one-dimensional.

According to my Oxford Dictionary, "strategy" is a military term defined as "generalship, the art of war; management of an army or armies in a campaign; art of so moving or disposing troops or ships as to impose upon the enemy the place and time and conditions for fighting preferred by oneself."

That's all very well as far as it goes, but there are two problems. First, if your soldiers don't have the necessary skills to move the army along, they will never reach the strategic position in the first place. Second, if they don't have the appropriate fighting skills, they won't know what to do once they are in position.

In order to make use of a strategy, you need the other half of the equation: tactics. The same dictionary defines "tactics" as "the art of disposing military or naval forces in actual contact with the enemy". In other words, once your strategy is in place, you must use tactics that will convert your plan into results.

In today's complex, many-faceted workplace, too many laudable communication strategies fail, or at least achieve limited success, because of lack of attention to tactics. By tactics, I mean the way we use applied communication every day to get the work done. As I often tell my audiences, this is not about a system-it's about the skills of those using the system. If the soldiers are not trained in the skills they need to get to the place of engagement as well as to fight the battle, then where is the value of a strategy?

In workplace terms, if employees at all levels don't have the skills to transfer information through presentations, through person-to-person discussion at meetings, through articulate discussion with the media, through the written word in all its forms, to interact with colleagues, customers and other stakeholders-then even the most ambitious strategy is doomed to failure from the start.

Effective workplace communication takes two components: the will and the skill- and one is of no use without the other. Your sales force may be very willing to sell your products, but if they haven't been given the necessary skills they'll starve. Newly promoted, enthusiastic young managers may well have the will to excel in their new responsibilities, but without the necessary training how will they have the skill to run effective meetings, motivate their people or lead winning teams?

Soldiers must be trained to carry out military tactics; employees must be trained to communicate effectively in all workplace interactions.

This is why applied communication is "The Hidden Profit Center". Find those places in your organization where communication is breaking down, and take a close look at what that costs in monetary terms. Identify the missing skills and supply the training necessary to provide them. After a predetermined length of time, quantify the savings in time, opportunity and people: that's your Hidden Profit Center, and you'll be amazed at how enormous it can be.

© 2005 Helen Wilkie All Rights Reserved

You may reprint this article for your online or print publication so long as you include the complete article and the following paragraph:

Helen Wilkie is a professional speaker, consultant and author who helps companies save their money and people save their sanity through better communication. For information about "The Hidden Profit Center", visit http://www.mhwcom.c om/pages/thehiddenprofitbook.html While you are on the site, subscribe to Helen's e-zine, "Communi-keys", to receive free monthly communication tips and techniques. Communicate and Prosper!

Action Planning

ACTION PLANNING: Action Planning is a process to develop strategies for changes in the organization... Read More

How to Grow Your Business by Clearing the Way to Growth

Is your business growing as fast and effectively as it could, or is it stuck... Read More

Thinking Like A Farmer

One of the difficulties we face in our industrialized age is the fact we've lost... Read More

Getting Started with Succession Planning: Part II

Succession planning requires the owner of a small or medium-sized business to plan for what... Read More

Why 9 in 10 Businesses are Overspending on Day-to-day Expenses

Experts estimate that 90 percent of Australian businesses are overspending on day-to-day expenses, by as... Read More

Call in the SWOT Team: Produce More Opportunities to Expand Your Business

Have you ever done a SWOT analysis? No, it's not some dangerous military maneuver. It's... Read More

Business Strategy Planning Made Easy

Ask Yourself three simple questions that affect your strategy planning... What direction is my... Read More

Microsoft Great Plains Implementation: Pharmaceutical Corporation Specifics ? overview

Microsoft Business Solutions Great Plains serves mid-size and large clients in horizontal and vertical markets.... Read More

The 7 Critical Steps to Formulating Your Annual Strategic Business Plan

Businesses tend to avoid doing their annual business plan thinking that it is an arduous... Read More

Do You Really Need a Business Plan?

"I don't need a business plan."Neither did Alice in Wonderland."Would you tell me, please, which... Read More

Business Plans Keep You On The Success Course

Where would your business be without a proper plan? A business plan sets the direction... Read More

Break-Even Analysis

A significant advantage of some business ideas is that the venture can break even at... Read More

Rules to Setting Business Goals and Objectives: Why and How to be SMART

We all know that nothing runs without a plan, and a plan cannot run without... Read More

How to Start A Business Plan

A business plan precisely defines your business, identifies your goals, and serves as your firm's... Read More

For Business Owners Only - You Can?t Be Fired But Neither Can You Quit

The decision to sell, or not to sell your business is a difficult one. There... Read More

Family and Friends Referrals Make the Best Franchisees

As a franchisor it is imperative that you seek, find and recruit the best franchisees... Read More

19 Questions to Supercharge Your Business Plan

Whether you are seeking capital for your company or are optimizing your business strategy, the... Read More

How to Develop a Successful Board of Advisors (...and Why You Should!)

In today's rapidly changing and highly competitive markets, many privately held companies are creating outside... Read More

Sony?s PSI Project

In 1989, Sony founded its Institute of Wisdom at the request of its founder Masaharu... Read More

Defining Go for It Business Goals

Many business start-up kits or consultants will tell you one of the first steps to... Read More

When Do I Need To Hire A Business Plan Consultant

Every new business owner knows that a business plan is critical ? it is drilled... Read More

Planning For The Slow Season Of Your Business To Increase Sales

Every business experiences slower periods. For some, they sell more during the Christmas season while... Read More

How To Kick Start Your Business And Double Your Profits

This will make some people angry as hell, but it's time to debunk the myth... Read More

Three Easy Ways To Know Thy Competitor

"Did you hear what your competitor is doing?" This question has caused many business people... Read More

Innovators Role at Hard Times

One Research Scientist at the Hewlett-Packard (HP) Imaging Systems laboratory said Carly Fiorina was a... Read More

How To Prepare A Business Plan That Guarantees Big Profits

It is always said "If you Fail to Plan, you Plan to Fail" Success in... Read More

2 Simple Steps Before Starting Your Business

There is so much small business information available today that it's easy to be bogged... Read More

Business Process Methodologies

I've either been involved with or held a process-related role since 1994. It started in... Read More

Five Crucial Components of a Business Plan

The format of a Business Plan is something that has been developed and refined over... Read More

Connecting Your Offline Business to Your Online Business

These may sound like no brainers, but you'd be surprised. No matter how high-tech your... Read More

GOT MEME? How to Attract Your Clients and Customers Attention

No "meme" isn't a typo and Got Milk, the more commonly know phrase, is actually... Read More

Business Plan Descriptions of Computer System

Entrepreneurs often give little if any consideration to their computer system needs in their original... Read More

Business Plan: Planning the Operations

Writing a business plan is no easy task, sure you can whip something together in... Read More

8 Ways to Earn More Without Working Harder

Conventional wisdom has it that there are only three ways to grow your business: find... Read More

In Business Planning, Competition is Good

When developing the competition section of your business plan, companies must define competition correctly, select... Read More

During the election we heard about Ohio?s Economy

Much of what we heard in the mass media about Ohio and the down and... Read More

10 Critical Facts to Put On the Cover of Your Business Plan...

In most business plans, no matter how striking the idea, the covers are critically important.... Read More

Home Improvement Construction Project Planning

The first task before hiring a contractor for home remodeling is laying out the details... Read More

Don?t Just Talk About the Weather, Use It to Advantage

A well known, national chain of restaurants discovered that certain weather patterns substantially impacts their... Read More

Turning On The Lights

Fun From The StartFor those with the will to start a new business the rewards,... Read More

Do You Have A Customer Identity Crisis?

The trick is to determine what uniquely identifies your best customers. Fortunately, deriving this information... Read More

Could You Be Setting Your Business Plan Up For Failure?

David E. Gumpert, author of Burn Your Business Plan, often tells the story about how... Read More

3 Undercover Ways to Make Big Profits from Your Competition

You have heard that there is extra money on the table marketing products related... Read More

How To Leverage Your Current Ideas And Products Into Multiple Revenue Streams

Diversify - to make diverse, give variety, to balance, to divide securities in different industries,... Read More

Business Plan: The Simplest Business Plan Ever

If you're a solo professional like I am, you know how tough it is to... Read More

Don?t Allow Yourself to Get Burned

I am not a big fisherman, but I do enjoy it whenever the opportunity comes... Read More

Alice In Wonderland - A Parable for A Business Plan

Remember reading "Alice in Wonderland?"She asks the Cheshire Cat, "which way I ought to go... Read More

Parking Business, the Details on Increasing Lot Revenue

If you are in the parking business and own or manage parking lots you may... Read More

A Rough Cut on Feasibility

A piano tuner recently moved to Buffalo, NY, and would like to assess the business... Read More

SWOT Analysis Is No Magic 8 Ball

Q: A key investor in my business has suggested that I hire a consultant to... Read More