I asked my boss what I needed to do to be promoted and she said I needed to move from pure tactical to a more strategic role.  What the heck does that mean?

It means coming up with ideas that answer logistical needs as well as have a positive financial impact.

An example:

You work for a retail company and there is a room filled with 3,000 samples- shirts, pants, shoes.  You suggest a plan of organizing the product on hangers and shelves so people can find the product they need.  That’s a tactical solution.  Then you propose a library card system where everyone can check out the samples they need and the database will show the record of it.  This database provides analyses of who used what when, what samples haven’t been used in 4 weeks, and what samples were never used at all.  This analysis would result in buying less of one sample next year, more of another and clearing out the unused samples for sample sale at the end of each season.  That is strategic.

Your strategic solution went much farther than the day to day tactical solution.  Your strategic idea saves the company money and may even make money by defining which sample can go to a sample sale.

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