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    Consulting: Are you a strategist or a tactician?
    James Nagy
    / Categories: Consulting

    Consulting: Are you a strategist or a tactician?

    As a consultant, ever changing roles and new projects are normal undertakings. One way that consultants can vary from one to the next is their approach to new projects, new clients, and new situations. To be a successful consultant, and to choose the best consultant for a business to work with, the individual consultant needs to know what type of approach it is that they can offer. Different styles work best in different scenarios.

    The first step is to identify whether you are a strategist or a tactician.  This will help to recognize what areas of consulting may be added strengths for you.  This also help to be aware of what types of consulting jobs you would be most valuable at.

    Strategists vs. Tacticians:

    There are people who are strategists and people who are tacticians. Tacticians can be taught strategy –but that doesn't make them good at it. For example, if you're a decent chess player you were taught strategy.  If you're a great chess player, you know strategy inherently. You are a strategist.  Being able to identify where your strengths lie is important, because these are two very different approaches to consulting jobs. 

    Here is how I would describe a tactician in a war-type scenario: A strategist is telling a tactician to go do something that was already planned out. In a war, you say to one of your sergeants, “You see that hill? Go take it. Get our men up there and do it.” The tactician then says, “Yes, sir.”  The tactician will then figure out the specifics of a plan to go and take the hill.  They still have to think. They have to come up with that plan to take the hill, but coming up with the specifics of how to take that hill doesn't make you strategic. It’s more of a, “I've been told to do something and I need to figure out how to make it happen” mentality.

    Now a strategist is the person behind the scenes.  They were the ones that delegated the task of taking the hill to that sergeant. A strategist is the one saying, “We need to take that hill, because we can't do the next three steps to achieve our goal of winning the war without it.”  A strategist is a big picture person.  They are constantly looking four plays ahead. They are planning the end goal, they lay the roadwork and delegate the specifics, and they anticipate complications and solutions needed to achieve the end goal.  

    We can now apply these same descriptions to business or consulting. Are you a consultant that's a tactician or a strategist? Strategic consultants are best in scenarios where people have a problem and they need you to look at the big picture and come up with a solution. Tactical consultants are best in scenarios where people are coming to them saying, “Here, I need you to do X.”  The tactical consultants will then complete the task necessary; they don’t have to think about the bigger picture.

    It is possible for consultants to be both.  Most people are one or the other.  Some of the best consultants are able to execute both strategic and tactical projects.  Being able to help an organization behind the scenes to come up with a strategy from start to finish that will achieve their goals is huge.  Being able to help an organization execute that strategy with all the tactical specifics is important as well.  The key is to identify your strengths so that you can give your clients the best service you can.  Businesses, in turn, need to find a consultant who lines up with their individual needs.  Everyone is different.

    What kind of a consultant do you think that you are? What types have you worked with in the past? Do you think that it’s more valuable to be a tactician or a strategist? Is it necessary for a consultant to be both? Comment below!

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    James Nagy

    James NagyJames Nagy

    Looking for a business consultant, how can I help? As Co-Founder and Managing Partner of J&S Tech Designs, I have three decades of experience and expertise to share with you and help your business, product, or idea thrive.

    Other posts by James Nagy
    Contact author Full biography

    Full biography

    As a strategic leader and entrepreneur, James Nagy has a record of generating growth by leveraging the latest technologies to drive sales, marketing, product development, and profitability. He is known for identifying and capitalizing on market trends, developing effective tactics for implementation, enhancing operating performance, and serving as a trusted advisor and business partner. Skilled at working across operations, James builds strong, cross-functional relationships and communicates complex technical information to diverse internal and external stakeholders.

    A big picture visionary, James identifies and reacts to market trends, providing disruptive strategies that go beyond IT to include sales, marketing, and product portfolio management. Building on his experience as Director of Software Development with premier companies Midas International Corporation and SXC Health Solutions, Inc., James launched two successful consulting companies, Sprocket Websites Inc. and J&S Tech Designs. As the Managing Director, he provides innovative solutions to clients in small- and mid-cap companies.

    When he is not advising other business leaders, James lends his expertise to a variety of organizations. He is a Founding Member & Committee Member of the Greater Conejo Valley Chamber of Commerce; he serves on multiple teams and committees for the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce; he is a Founding Member of the Chicago Area DNN User Group, and he serves on the Board of Directors of the New West Symphony. In his free time, James enjoys Sci-Fi, coin collecting, traveling and wine tasting.

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