There are no guarantees about anything in life, but you can tip the odds in your favor through being STRATEGIC. Using the right resources, at the right time, in the right way, to get the right result.
This diagram will help you become more strategic. Here is how it works:
#1 – Being strategic involves clarity around your top outcome.
To think through any kind of strategy you must first get clear on what you want AND perhaps even more importantly, WHY you want it. Lacking clear outcomes inevitably leads to wasted resources.
#2 – Underlying any goal or outcome are values.
Values simply put, are anything you consider as valuable. Time, energy, money, family, love etc. Anything you DO in life is based on what you value. The more overlap between your behaviors and your top values, the happier you will be.
#3 Once you have clarity of outcome you will start coming up with ways to make it a reality.
In many situations, there are far more options than you realize for achieving an outcome. But its impossible to pursue all options (resources are limited). That’s why you must be STRATEGIC about your use of resources. For the sake of simplicity I suggest coming up with no more than 3 top strategies for realizing an outcome.
Strategies are your APPROACH to solving the challenge of getting what you want with the least amount of resources (shortest path, least cost) etc with one caveat – all paths should be moral ones or you’ll be unhappy when you get there. Why? Because immoral paths sacrifice our higher values , and although we achieve the outcome we thought we wanted, more importantly we move away from a higher value we truly wanted – which causes unhappiness.
NEVER sacrifice higher values for a short term gain, not only is it a waste of resources, its the surest path to a meaningless life.
#4 Strategies themselves are often too high level for implementation. Therefore strategies need to be broken down into tactics.
Tactics are the ways in which you will carry out a strategy. Do not get confused at this point, its quite easy to understand the difference. Strategies are high level approaches, big picture type stuff. Tactics are smaller scale approaches, on the battle-field and often shorter time cycles.
Many people unfortunately begin by asking what the right tactic is , without questioning their overall strategy, main outcome or values behind it. Without clearly identifying the high level stuff, getting lost in tactics is the worst way to use your resources – since the number of available tactics are almost limitless.
For example choosing what oar to row your ship with (tactic) is not nearly as important as what ship you want to use (strategy) and where you want to go (result) , and why you want to get there (values).
Don’t worry if the difference between tactics or strategies is a little confusing at first. They are just words anyway – the main point is to realize that in any given situation you can zoom OUT to see the bigger picture and the longer term and that is being more strategic, while zooming IN allows you to see more detail and shorter term an that is being tactical.
You zoom out to plan your outcome and direction, you zoom in to implement and get to work! Zoom out before you zoom in!
#5 Zooming in further now, each tactic can be broken into specific tasks.
Every task carries with it an expense, typically of time or money.
In the beginning where you lack resources, its all your time.
Later on in the case of delegating, it may not be your time, but its your money.
The key thing here is that all tasks that are part of a top strategy must get done. In simple terms, this means scheduled and completed. Often, at least in the context of business, it doesn’t matter WHO does the task, as long as they execute them in a competent manner. This means most results are indifferent to who you are – as long as the right strategy is executed in the right way at the right time, the result is inevitable.
With enough money or resources, you can delegate just about everything except the zooming out, maintaining a vision of what you want and where you want to go and planning strategy at the highest level.
How do you get to the point of having enough resources to operate at the level of delegating most of the tactical work? That’s what being strategic is all about!
Use your time wisely, strategically and purely now and you’ll develop the reputation and resources that will make it possible to achieve bigger and greater outcomes with larger teams tomorrow.