Strategy, Tactics, and … Something Else?

I’ve been trying to think of the various types of work I do on Ask Leo! and how there are different types of work. Most commonly the biz/entrepreneur types will tell you that there’s strategy and there’s tactics.

I think there’s something else.

Strategy is higher level business or project direction and purpose. Decisions on strategy revolve around why and, at a high level, what we choose do. My mission is to help people with technology, making them more competant and confident with it. That I should structure my business around questions and answers, for example, is a strategic decision that defines how the business is run; it’s a model easily understood by my customers. That all content on the site would come from me (no guest posts, for example), is another strategic decision designed to provide focus to what Ask Leo! is, and is not, as a business, and as a way to build trust.

Tactics I’ll call a medium level focus on what and how. That I post Q&A articles on a web site, or that I would have a weekly newsletter, and what it would look like, are tactical decisions in service of that overall strategy. Similarly things like publishing books, using social media, or lately, using Patreon to engage readers further, are all tactics that a) support the mission, and b) can be changed without altering the mission or global strategy.

The “something else” came to mind to me the other day as there’s actually a fair amount of work that I do that doesn’t actually fall into either of those categories – at least not for me.

I call it “The Machine”. Most would lump it into tactics, I suppose, but for me it’s the “real” work where the rubber hits the road. It’s the repetitive work of cranking the gears of the machine to actually implements those tactics every week, or every day. It’s writing articles every week. It’s answering questions almost every day. It’s making those social posts. It’s responding to customers, patrons, fans, and visitors.

Where strategy and tactics are all about deciding what to do, the machine is all about doing the work. It’s too easy to get lost in the former and forgetting that it’s all for naught without the later.