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!

Executive Summary for Business Plans of Franchisees

Writing a business plan for a franchised outlet of a larger company to get funding... Read More

25 Ways To Find Companies To Buy

When you start your program to purchase your "ideal" company, you quickly realize that your... Read More

To Go or No Go, That Is The Question

Last week we talked about a few of the ways to test the feasibility of... Read More

Why You Need a Business Planning System NOT a Business Plan

When someone mentions business planning we have been conditioned to think about writing a business... Read More

Content Management: Wise Investment for Business Prosperity

The time when a website was just a simple set of HTML pages has gone... 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

Why Create an Annual Plan?

Can you imagine going on a road trip without knowing your destination? Or, building your... Read More

Regroup - How To Do It And Why It Works

Regroup?is this a new management trend? Not a chance! Regroup is simply an opportunity to... 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

The Top Five Reasons Strategic Plans Fail

"Most great plans aren't. They are just nice, high-level ideas."That's how one of our survey... Read More

Top 10 Tips to Create A Business Plan! (For People Who Hate Business Plans)

One of the key challenges for any business is to remain focused and invest resources... Read More

Online Promotion: 10 Ways To Use Focus Groups To Ignite Your Profits

A focus group is a group of employees or current customers that discuss and brainstorm... Read More

Questions to Ask Yourself When Starting a New Home Business

I love the excitement of starting up a new home based business. I enjoy trying... 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

Mining Market Data

With a heightened awareness of opportunity, ideas can often be generated by market research. The... Read More

Own Your Niche by Building a Niche Community

In 1997, David Steele was making the transition from a professional therapist to relationship coach.... Read More

Strategic Planning Fundamentals

Strategic planning is vital while starting a new business or expansion of an business or... Read More

College Students and Graduates to Run Company Outlets or Franchises

Does your overall business strategy include the recruitment of college students to run your locations?... Read More

Who is Responsible?

While writing an article recently on effective ways to bridge the IT/Management communication gap, I... Read More

Vision Getting Dim?

A recent conversation started with a typical question, "How's business?" The reply was equally typical... Read More

Six Key Areas For Evaluating A Strategic Alliance

Strategic alliances are increasing at a rapid rate. It is good for business, good for... 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

Water Conservation and Water Issues for Mobile Car Washers and Auto Detailers

Obviously, there will never be an actual water shortage since two-thirds of our earth's surface... 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

Restaurant Startup - Part 1: Market Research ? What are Potential Competitors Doing?

The first step in starting a restaurant is proper planning. One must lay out a... Read More

What Every Service Provider Ought To Know About Writing A Business Plan

It's easy to lose sight of what needs to be communicated to prospective investors when... Read More

How To Get More Business During The Winter Months

Business seems to drop, slow or even stop during the winter months. As tourist traffic... Read More

Take A Systems View To Ensure Your Business Stays Healthy

How are you feeling today? Good, not so good, great? Let me ask the same... Read More

The Best Entity to Hold Real Estate

Possibly THE most frequently asked question of me is "What is the best business entity... Read More

Break-Even Analysis

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

Shortening Product Life Cycle!

The current state of the available technology at the disposal of designer is the most... Read More

Abstract thought on Business Strategy and Nature

Here is an abstract thought on studying nature and the natural order of things; things... Read More

10 Ways To Make Your Business Unique

1. Largest Selection -One way that you can make your product or service stand out... Read More

Is Plan B Ready?

Business owners and entrepreneurs are, by nature, risk takers and adventurers. If we didn't have... Read More

What is Your MSP?

For many consumers and producers, MSP is an acronym for Manufacturer's Suggested Price. Today, I... Read More

Insurance Requirements in Franchised Companies

Franchised companies often require what some believe to be excessive insurance requirements. This is because... Read More

Offense: Beat the Odds

When in doubt, cut that out! Yeah, yea, doubting Thomas may have had a point... Read More

Bounced Checks in Your Business Location Outlets

The new check cashing instant clearing will take some time to get use to. If... Read More

The Magic Of Exponential Business Growth

Is there a 'magical' way to exponentially grow your business?It's about the timeless business principle... Read More

Mastermind Your Way to Success

What do Mark Victor Hansen, Robert Allen, Anthony Robbins, Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison... 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

The Six Sigma Method and Design of Experiments

Six Sigma is becoming a proven approach for businesses and organizations to improve their performance.... Read More

Business Strategy Planning Made Easy

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

Business Ideas: 3 Smart Ways To Generate Profitable Business Ideas Anytime

Creativity is one of the greatest tools for success in business.All businesses are created first... 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

The Power of Planning

I am surprised how few sales professionals, independent consultants, and small business owners take the... Read More

Art of Succession Planning

Succession planning, like any business acumen, is both an art and a ... Read More

Top Ten Traits of Strategic Thinkers

Want to become more strategic? Add these traits to your collection of skills and watch... Read More

Cost-cutting Essential to Maintaining Profits

Why cut costs now? Efforts are multiplying to cut costs wherever possible in order to... Read More

Balanced Scorecard Strategy Map

With the help of balanced scorecard strategy map, it is very easy to design the... Read More