Inspiration: Strategy without tactics...

sun-tzu_225Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.—Sun Tzu, philosopher, author, The Art of War “Strategy.”

What a word.

If I say “these activities are tactical,” people responsible for those activities get upset. If I say, “this is strategic,” people relax and feel better about themselves.

There’s a sense that strategic is somehow better than tactical.

I ran a meeting about roles and responsibilities and one of the team members said, “Okay, I admit it: I’m tactical—and I like it. I like supporting sales people; I like doing demos. And what’s wrong with that?”

Indeed. Nothing wrong with that at all.

Strategy, objectives, mission, vision—these terms get bandied about without real clarity on what they actually mean.

From "The management framework that propelled LinkedIn to a $20 billion company":

“Vision is the dream,” says Weiner. “A company’s true north. It’s what inspires everyone day in and day out.  It’s what you constantly need to be aspiring to.”  He defines LinkedIn’s vision as “Creating economic opportunity for every professional,” where ‘professional’ refers to every single one of the over 3.3 billion people in the global workforce. The mission, on the other hand, defines how the company strives to fulfill that vision. Read more

I think of strategy as a filter. Strategy provides guidance on whether we should do a thing or not do it. It is how we know to say “no” to many things and say “yes” to just a few.

Do we want to build something that looks good or is actually good? Is feature set more important than quality? Are we focused on getting new customers or retaining old ones? Do we want be a big player in a small segment or be a small player in a big market?

Every day people at all levels of your organization make decisions. A strategic vision ensures that they make the right decisions that align with the company goals. It’s important. Because without a strategic vision, people make decisions that align with their personal goals.

Next steps: Define a strategic vision that includes what you want to achieve and also what you don’t care to achieve; who you are and who you are not. Share it with your teams so you can all align around a common goal.