Line between Strategy and Tactics

An Auftrag implies a certain distance between team lead (who issues the mission) and team member (who completes the mission). This distance is part of a shared logic. The focus is on the mission and less so on the relationship between team lead and team member. The team lead transfers responsibility for the mission‘s completion to the team member.

The team lead as Auftragserteiler – mission issuer – focuses primarily on issues at a higher level than on the particular missions of the team. The team member as Auftragserfüller – mission completer – is willing and capable of defining the how and completing the mission in the spirit of the Auftrag. The team member takes ownership of the mission, works independently, is in a sense more partner than employee of the team lead.

Naturally team leads and members are constantly adjusting the line between what is strategy (responsibility of the team lead) and what is tactics (responsibility of the team member). In the German context, however, this line is set rather high, meaning the team lead formulates the mission consciously in general, less specific terms. This gives the team member maximum freedom on the tactical level.

And although there will be variations in where German team leads and members draw that line between strategy and tactics – based on the people involved, their experience working together and the nature of the work – the logic remains constant:

The German lead purposely avoids adding to the mission statement any kind of recommendations or specifications about how the mission should be executed (tactics). The how is the responsibility of the team member. It is expected of her/him that they complete the mission independently and without unnecessarily drawing on the team lead‘s time and energy.