At the tactical level, one is concrete and particular, and complex planning with what-if's is possible--although you know that invention on the part of the actors will be required.
Operational and strategic levels do not deal with many contingencies,
except when things go big awry. Then you go back to the drawing board,
so to speak. The Colonels' and Generals' planning teams have to think
differently than does the Captain and Major, who are often tactical.
the Operational and Strategic have to do is to figure out big goals and how to go
about it. I think of arguments toward the end of WWII about whether to go to
Germany directly or in a pincer. I am surely getting this wrong, since
my memory for such details is likely fuzzy. But the point is that
Eisenhower made a choice and all else followed. If it did not work out,
presumably they had to think about what next.
complexity planners face is in part that the other side (or the
customers, in business) has their own agenda, may act surprisingly (even
as they think of themselves), etc. So the question becomes whether
one's judgment is mildly reliable, and whether you have enough feedback
and agility to know and deal with reverses. To use my current hobby
horse, Rumsfeld got lots of feedback, but he had little of the requisite agility (or so
the historical record seems to show--it may be wrong). Pride is useful
in forcing one to persevere, but it is disastrous when one has to
acknowledge things are not going your way. Strength lies in taking that
disappointment and dealing with what needs to be done next. That is, do
you have an ability to either have backup plans, or to generate them,
when they might be needed. That's real strength.