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Strategic pertains to the activities of the business which defines how it will compete and transforms the business organization to achieve the strategy. 'Strategic' stands in contrast to 'operational', which refers to the activities that deal with defining how the business organization will compete.

Operational vs. strategic 'conversations' (from Gary Hamel, 2000) --
Operational management and strategic management are two very different types of management activities. For the effectiveness of both of them, their differences should be explicitly understood and the activities should be held at different times, to avoid the confusion and biases produced when they are mixed into the same session. Operational management seeks to execute here and now, while strategic management deals with innovation and competitive advantage, especially business model innovation. Hamel defined the nature of an operational 'conversation' vs. a 'strategic' conversation --

  • Focus of the conversation
    • present vs. future focus
    • certainties vs. possibilities
    • ""real"" vs. ""play""
  • Nature of knowledge
    • knowledge confirmation vs. knowledge development
    • static language vs. dynamic language
    • set within an industry vs. focused on creating an industry
    • implicit assumptions vs. explicit assumptions
  • Conversation rules
    • advocacy vs. dialog
    • authoritative vs. hypothetical
    • reach for closure vs. open new conversations
    • need for expertise vs. need for generalists
    • get a decision vs. keep learning