What do you think of when you hear the word “Strategy”? Do you think about your business, and how you will make it better? Do you think of your bank account, and how you will get through retirement? Do you think of a football coach, a military general or a chess grandmaster?

Here at Absolute, we see strategy as what you need to get from the use of your tactics to reaching your goals. Tactics => Strategy => Goals.

To illustrate strategy, I can’t think of a better way than to use North Dakota State’s national championship football team.

Before we jump into the 5ives, let’s define the tactics and the goals. The tactics are the basic “Xs and Os” that the team uses on the field—they are the basic blocking and tackling (literally!!) that they have to do to win each week. The goals are broader, and not necessarily singular. They could be to win this week, to win the conference or, in the Bison’s case, to win a national championship. Ultimately, the goal for NDSU football is to establish a legacy.

Having established the tactics and goals, here are five goals for the NDSU Bison and how strategy plays a part in reaching them…

  1. Win the Play: This is a basic goal, and your strategy is which tactic—which play—will get you the desired outcome. An offensive coordinator has many tactics at his disposal on every play—whether to run or pass, which personnel to use, whether to go left or right. Your strategy should take into account what you think your opponent will do and to choose a play that will beat it.
  2. Win the Game: Again, a basic goal for a football team. Your strategy is a combination of in-game decisions (like going for a field goal or punting?) and play-calling that lead to a victory at the end of the game. Sometimes that means sacrificing something early for a bigger win later in the game. Continuing to run into the middle of the line for three yards might seem like a loss, but if it sets up a play-action touchdown pass later in the game it’s a successful strategy to win the game.
  3. Get Into the Playoffs: During the season coaches make weekly decisions that impact the team, the most visible being who starts and who plays. While your weekly strategy always focuses on winning the game, you need to do it with an eye to the future, too. The strategy of resting a player one week can both make a player stronger later in the season and provide others a chance to learn and succeed, making you stronger in the end. But, will it cost you the win this week? What do you need to do weekly to improve your chances of getting in a position to win, both this week and later in the season?
  4. Win the National Championship: Once a football team hits the playoffs, strategy becomes focused on the win. Preparing players for later is a thing of the past, everything now points to taking advantage of all the strategic decisions you’ve made up to this point. You are in position, now you have to make it happen.
  5. Building a legacy: While a coach tries to win on the field, there are many strategic decisions being made that don’t receive much attention but are still vital to building a legacy. Football coaches have to determine who to recruit, and who to sign, to keep the program moving forward. New players need to be trained and coached on the program’s philosophy, and need to be ready when they are called upon to produce.

Strategy plays a part in all aspects of marketing your business—from the daily wins to achieving the ultimate goal. Each goal you set needs a different strategy to achieve it, but those strategies (and tactics) need to be in alignment to maximize your resources.

As always, Absolute can help you determine your strategy for success, including setting both short-term and long-term goals and helping you determine which tactics you need to achieve them.