Are You Thinking Long or Short Term?
Operation Anaconda was given the green light in March of 2002. During the first half of the month, 1,700 U.S. troops and 1,000 pro-government Afghan militia were airlifted into the Arma Mountains of Afghanistan. They engaged an estimated 500 to 1,000 opposing Taliban and al-Qaeda forces to take control of the Shahi-Kot Valley. The attack was initiated because U.S. intelligence believed the two organizations were preparing for a spring offensive and there were reports of high-value targets residing there as well. Major General Franklin Hagenbeck’s plan called for a two-pronged operation: first, attack the valley and second, stage troops in the eastern mountains to prevent the Taliban and al-Qaeda forces from retreating into Pakistan. The operation had its problems, but Taliban and al-Qaeda forces were removed from the valley in the end.
What we learn from this operation is the difference between strategy and tactics. Strategy is the long term plan in which you want to achieve; tactics are the means by which you accomplish the strategy. Looking back to the example, the strategy was to remove the Taliban and al-Qaeda forces from the Shahi-Kot Valley. The tactics were to send in U.S. and allied troops into the valley. They were covered with air and heavy gun support from the surrounding mountain ranges as well as cutting off the enemy escape route. It can also be said that Operation Anaconda was a tactic in the larger strategy of Operation Enduring Freedom.
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Applying Strategy and Tactics to Business
Too many times business owners or operators confuse strategy with tactics. Often they get bogged down with whether they should focus on production or sales, social media or email marketing, research and development or quality and control, or topline revenue or optimization. All of these are important aspects of business. The balance of what to focus on can be easily determined by your overall strategy. Tactics are the short game such as social media or email marketing. What is your long game?
Enter Rae Publishing. We are an indie press that will publish both print and electronic books, which will be indistinguishable in quality, content, entertainment, and reach from the New York publishers. This is one strategy. It is both the big picture and long term plan. The tactics include: hone the skills of the writers; outsource stellar formatting and cover designs; provide excellent editing and use a high-quality print on demand printer for the print books; post sales pages on all the big e-commerce stores; bring awareness and engage people on social media; and build a tribe before the books launch. These are all tactics in service to the overall strategy.
Leadership Establishes Strategy. Business Executes Tactics
There is more to business than just thinking about how you are going to make your next dollar, find your next customer, and when to release a new product. Everything your business does should be a part of the bigger operation in your market. Short term business decisions are tactics that should pay homage to the overall strategy that leadership established.
Thank you for reading this installment of Daily Download. Please like, share on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+ if you liked it. You can follow me, Ryan A. Ross, on Twitter @ryanthebossross as well as Rae Publishing @raepublishing. Don’t forget to check out the Archives, there’s a lot of great stuff including Wednesday Writer’s Workshop and Friday Fiction Breakdown.
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The question of the day: Are you looking at the long or short term of your business? Please comment below.