What does Strategic mean?

We often hear in business that something is "strategic" - a project, an appointment or an acquisition - but what does strategic mean? The short answer is that it relates to strategy and we can define this quite easily; strategy comes from the Greek word "strategos", meaning a general, as in the leader of an army. So strategy is an overall view and plan of action which enables an organisation to set priorities, mobilise resources and manage the processes necessary for this. Strategic therefore also describes ideas and actions which directly reflect or influence the key goals of the organisation.
In practice, strategic is used even more broadly. It can be intended to mean simply important, a "game changer", "big picture" etc., or to be the opposite of something tactical or operational. Is this incorrect? Not really, given what strategic means in a formal sense. Problems arise when "strategic" is over-used. Not everything can be strategic (or a priority). That's the point.


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