Can You Be Too Tactical?

Can You Be Too Tactical?

Being too Tactical

There are three primary areas of judgment:

  1. Intrinsic – people judgment, the human factor
  2. Extrinsic – tactical judgment
  3. Systemic – strategic judgment.

Almost half of the population is extrinsic (tactically) dominant, meaning that their extrinsic or tactical judgment is their strongest, when compared to the intrinsic (people judgment) and systemic (strategic judgment). This tendency leads almost half of the population to respond first and foremost, tactically.

No worries though, being tactically dominant is fine.

However, for some individuals, their tactical judgment is so large and so powerful that it overshadows their other areas of judgment. Unfortunately, this is actually quite common.

The biggest danger is that tactical pressures to “complete the mission” can override your strategic good sense. Remember, it is the strategic that provides our personal radar, our caution, our “big picture” judgment.The strategic tells us to slow down, to consider the long term implications and consequences of decisions made today.

In fact, for the majority of people, their strategic is their weakest, which in and of itself, is OK. The problem occurs when strategic judgment is crowded out and overshadowed by extremely well developed tactical judgment.

Individuals who are overly tactically dominant often feel an urge to “do something”, anything. This urge is the extrinsic talking to them. They often accomplish a large volume of work. It is terrific to accomplish much work, to do many things, but be sure to interject a healthy dose of strategic awareness when you’re “doing something”.

Usually this means to slow down, consider the implications and consequences, ask yourself if you really want to do what you are about to do. Use extrinsic judgment in your decisions, but use systemic judgment as well.

Simply put, to ignore the strategic often leads to a tactical nightmare, and yes, it is very possible to be too tactical.


CDR Barry W. Hull, USNR (Retired)

Barry Hull is an expert in the field of evaluative judgment and decision-making. He helps organizations and individuals improve their success by helping them improve their ability to make good decisions and choices. Barry Hull is the founder of Pilot Judgment Inc. Additionally, he is a partner with the consulting firm, Athena Assessment Inc. He is a retired US Navy Commander, F/A-18 Hornet fighter pilot, combat decorated during Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm.


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