"Tactics is knowing what to do when there is something to do. Strategy is knowing what to do when there is nothing to do." This is what Savielly Grigorievitsch Tartakower said about tactics and strategy. In the 20's of the last century, the son of an Austrian father and a Polish mother was one of the world’s best chess players. The grandmaster wrote books like "The Hypermodern Game of Chess" or "Neoromantisches Schach", which are both considered classics by experts. Even 50 years after his death, aphorisms like "The second best move is often the only right move" are still famous with chess players. Tartakow, who was a keenly experimental player, used to comment his private games with these and similar sayings, called Tartakowerisms.

The quote you read at the beginning of this article was coined from one of his games and is not only valid on the chess board. Savielly Tartakower pointedly stresses out the difference between tactics and strategy. Tactics determines the next move, strategy the course of the game. Economically speaking, this means operative versus strategic planning.

The "St. Gallen Center for Strategic Management" offers comprehensive services on this topic. Consulting services, targeted seminars, and in-house programs focus on the relevant points of strategic thinking and acting.

The higher your hierarchical level, the more important is the ability to plan in the long term. While project managers focus on the next milestone ahead, entrepreneurs envision the years to come. This is the only way to detect new trends, develop businesses lines, and gain an edge over competitors. The day-to-day business is managed by other, specifically recruited, executives. That is exactly how it is meant to be. Strategies always arise in the overall context. However, they should be isolated from constricting internal processes. So, Savielly Tartakower was right: "Strategy is knowing what to do when there is nothing to do."


Consulting Services

  • Vision, Mission, Values, Main Objectives
  • Development/Review of corporate, business and functional strategies 
  • Business Model Design
  • Increasing Growth Momentum
  • Accretion 
  • Reorganization
  • Restructuring
  • Corporate Succession

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Romed Guntern, lic.oec. HSG et lic.iur. HSG
Chief Executive Officer of the SGMI Institute of Management St. Gallen and Director of the Center for Strategic Management

Romed Guntern studied at the University of St. Gallen (HSG) and graduated with a master degree in economics (lic.oec.) and a master degree in law (lic.iur.). He was a research assistant at the Institute of Public Finance and Financial Law at the University of St. Gallen.

As CEO and Chairman of the Board of Directors for many years, he developed the SGMI Management Institute St. Gallen into one of the most renowned, internationally active business schools in the German-speaking world. Mr. Guntern is Vice President of the St. Gallen Group and the St. Gallen Research Association and co-founder of numerous start-ups. As an entrepreneurial pragmatist, he sits on the boards of directors of various companies.

With over 20 years of lecturing and moderating experience at numerous renowned institutions and corporate universities as well as at conferences and congresses, he is one of the most renowned specialists in corporate and strategic management. Over the years, he has trained several thousand executives.

As Managing Partner at St. Gallen International Management Consulting he advises top and executive management of renowned domestic and foreign companies, large corporations, successful niche players from the SME sector and start-ups. From a large number of consulting projects, he has relevant experience in the following areas:

  • Vision, mission, values, top goals
  • Group, holding, corporate, business unit and functional strategies
  • Business model design
  • Growth dynamics
  • High performance organization
  • Profit and value enhancement
  • Start-up-management


Romed Guntern
lic.oec.HSG et lic.iur.HSG

Chief Executive Officer of the SGMI Institute of Management St. Gallen and Director of the Center for Strategic Management

Further information

+41 71 223 50 30

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+41 71 223 50 30

SGMI Management Institut St. Gallen
Bogenstrasse 7
CH-9000 St. Gallen

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