What's with all this strategy talk?


Your textThis strategy course is one of the more interesting courses so it makes all the weekend strategy group work worthwhile.

My textHope you’re all more strategic for it.

Your text So I have mentors here.

Your textAnd I look forward to our next calls asking them how they choose what not to do.

Your textAnd how do they see the pitfalls when something lies outside the chosen strategy or how they push back when people want to go down the wrong roads, etc.

Your textHelps give context to the academic stuff.

There seem to be five words, that although extremely important, always cause me to pause, tighten up and prepare for a semantical and contextual entanglement — my experience is their definition offer great delight for the wordsmith, but can cause confusion for those who want to get something done. I only really care about them because they ensure there is alignment ( as well as effectiveness and efficiency) between what you want and what you need to do.

Vision, Goal, Strategy, Objective, and Tactic

I already regret writing them down — it’s like rolling a snow ball down a mountain and imaging the havoc it will create at the bottom; everything caught up in an oversized snowball with feet and arms sticking out every which way. I suppose I should define the famous five, but the internet will do a much better job, so I’m not going to. I should mention I only bring this up because of that brief “text conversation” but now that I’m into it, I’ll be brief.

My favourite illustration of strategy et al is with a mystical land whose ambitious king wants to unite the land under his leadership (his vision) by capturing the island city state of “Gold City” (the goal). To do this he will isolate the island and starve the city into the submission (the strategy) and will do it by the end of the summer (adds an objective and makes it time bound). He will blow up the bridges that connect the island to the main land and cut off the food supply (the tactic). A nice little story to bring the definitions to life don’t you think; that is until someone says the goal is to starve the people and the strategy is to blow up the bridges, and the tactic is to put explosives at the footings of the bridges — let the contextual and semantical discussions begin. As a side note, no one ever mentions the need to add a naval blockade to truly make this work (although I digress).

All of this is very important to know and adopt into your planning because it increases the chance you will get you where you want to go. Lately though, I’ve boiled it down to three questions that still encompasses everything but with less wordsmithing.

What do you want?

What is your plan to get you what you want?

What are you doing to make your plan a reality?

When I say there is less wordsmithing it isn’t to suggest that the answers don’t have to be big, and a little wordy, and require quite a bit of thought — because big visions require big plans, and the grit to get them done. And nowhere in the manual does it say it’s easy.

I did mention I would be brief.


Ride your own ride...


I’m actually in the middle of writing a blog on strategy but the other day I was reminded of a very important imperative so I’ve put that blog on the back burner for the time being (I’m sure I’ll get back to it shortly because although the word strategy can get confusing, it represents something very important).

The imperative I was reminded of — “Ride your own ride”

If you’ve ever ridden a motorcycle you’ve probably heard this imperative because when you’re on a motorcycle you’re also keenly aware that the opportunity for a do over is rare. Although open to interpretation, the core meaning is to ride to your current ability and not get influenced by those around you — it’s advisable, unless you are ready, not to lean heavily into a turn going 100km/hr just because the rider ahead of you did it.

When you are on a motorcycle this imperative is very much a literal mantra — I was on my new bicycle when it came to mind so I suppose it may also have some figurative utility. My new bicycle is very different from my old bicycle, so not only am I dealing with getting my cycling legs back in order, I’m also dealing with a new riding position, different gears, different gear ratios, and larger tires. It is a completely different riding experience compared to what I’m used to and it had me lagging far behind the others.

As frustration was beginning to set in I found that little voice offering up some advice… “Ride your own ride”. And because a little wisdom has finally starting to settle in I listened.

I forgot about the people around me, started enjoying my ride, focused on what I needed to do to improve, and slowly, day by day, found myself improving — all simply because I finally recognized it was my ride and not anyone else’s. I should also mention I’m not lagging so far behind anymore. Sure this is a fine two-wheel reminder, but I would suggest it’s also a nice reminder for anything you do; particularly when you want to stay focused on your goals.

Because the moment you make it someone else’s ride, you will never meet the goals you’ve set out for yourself.

I guess I should get back to that strategy blog,


The reason I will ask you to donate generously...


Waiting rooms are hushed at 9:30 in the evening.

I know this because a few months back I found myself in one such room as I helped a friend who was having a CT scan. It was where people in gowns wait quietly for their name to be called; wait for diagnostic tests to be completed, and I suppose, wait for the news that comes with these kinds of tests. At the Princess Margret Hospital the news more often than not involves the word cancer.

On this particular night the room was empty except for a couple of people.

Although I tried not to look, tried not to intrude, my eyes were drawn to a woman in her early twenties. Like all young woman she was pretty, and like all people in this room she was clad in a hospital gown; she stared straight ahead — only her hands moved ever so slightly. In the time I spent in that waiting room she never moved except for her hands; her stoic gaze never faltered; she waited alone for her name to be called…

I will ride in the Princess Margaret Hospital’s Ride to Conquer Cancer again to support the advances to defeat cancer in our lifetime and to ensure those who are battling cancer know they are not alone — and that their character is an inspiration to us all.

As Canada’s largest cycling fundraiser, the Ride to Conquer Cancer has raised over $194 million for the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. The funds raised through the ride support Personalized Cancer Medicine research, treatment advances, education and new standards of care at the hospital, across Ontario and around the world.

Any donations are greatly appreciated.

Please pass this on as you see fit.