‘Strategic’ Is an Adjective

The late sixth century B.C. military strategist Sun Tzu (Art of War) wrote, “Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” Tzu was probably referring to the pitiful 1990 New England Patriots which won only one game all season, but I’d like to think that he was referring to how best to approach life sciences marketing communications.

Strategic. The word is either so frequently overused to add importance to whatever it’s describing, or it’s simply used out of context. As a result, the word has practically lost its meaning. By definition, something is only strategic if it is… well… based upon strategy. The approach or activity must be rooted in a plan designed to achieve a specific objective. If we agree that we should all think strategically, then we should all develop and follow strategy to achieve our objectives.

The fact that something is genuinely strategic is a good start, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that the larger strategy informing it is sound or will be successful. The guiding strategy should be based upon insight into objectives and competitors, knowledge of your assets, empathy with your intended audiences, and armed with the most powerful weapon of all: common sense.

Just think how proud Tzu might have been if the Patriots finally aligned strategy and tactics. Oh, wait…

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