Casemore’s Critical Links August 27, 2012 edition

Strategic or tactical; discovering your natural tendencies

Building on our discussion from last week, defining what success looks like is important not only to meet our personal or professional goals, but we must also have the ability to define what our definition of success looks like for our employees, peers, and other key stakeholders with whom we choose to engage (or who engage with us).

Unfortunately for most, this ability is not natural, and regardless of whether you are strategic (i.e. the visionary), or more operationally focused (i.e. the implementer), you must train yourself to communicate in a manner that plays to your strengths while accounting for your weaknesses if you are ever to engage the necessary stakeholders to achieve desired change.

The first logical step then is to determine which thought process you naturally levitate towards,  the more strategic or tactical. Let’s try an example to help determine your stronger tendencies. Study the photo below carefully, and then review the questions below the photo (without looking at the answers!) and give thought to your responses for each.


Situation: You have just arrived on the beach at 12:00 pm (supplies and children in tow) with your family for a mini-afternoon holiday (to answer your question, yes I do escape to the beach the odd Friday when no one is around. There are distinct advantages to living 20 minutes away from a beach). With this in mind, think about your responses to the following questions:

1.     What are your objectives for you and your family now that you have arrived?
2.     What is the first thing you should do?
3.     What are the potential risks to enjoying your day?
4.     What might you prepare for later in the day?
5.     How can you make the most of your day?

Now, we will have to make some reasonable assumptions here, but let me provide you with some contrasted comparisons of the thoughts from the strategic versus tactical thinkers, despite both being presented the same situation.

The Strategic thinker:
·      “Where should we set up camp in order take advantage of the lake, the view, and the sun?”
·      “I wonder if there is anyone on the beach that would make sense to meet?”
·     ” If we wanted to get some food later, what is the quickest way to reach a restaurant?”
·      “It’s a little cloudy, but if we position ourselves correctly, I think I can still catch some rays !”
·      “How can I spend more time here, and less time in the office, while being more productive?

The Tactical thinker:
·      “Sunblock is on: it might rain though, do we have an umbrella?”
·      “I have to get the umbrella and chairs set up, then get the kids playing before I can sit.”
·      “Do I have everything I need for the afternoon? If not, I should I get it now or later?”
·      “If it does rain, what’s my fastest way to reach the car?”

Use your judgment to determine where you best fit within these responses in order to determine whether you are more strategic or tactical in nature. With this information in hand, you will be prepared for our discussion next week about how to balance strategy with tactics.

© Shawn Casemore 2012. All rights reserved.
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