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.