Proceed Until Apprehended » Blog Archive » Strategic Thinking vs. Being Strategic.
I have a daily Google alert on "being strategic," and it's just fascinating to me what comes up – what people mean by that phrase is so all over the map. Some people clearly think it means "being manipulative and deceitful" or "acting in your own best interest vs. for the greater good." Some people use it to mean "being willing to give up short-term gain for long-term benefit," while some clearly think it means simply "crushing the competition."
For anyone reading this who hasn't heard me say this already: I define being strategic as consistently making those core directional choices that will best move you toward your hoped-for future.
So I loved the post linked at the top. The author, Nevin Danielson, makes a great distinction between people who think in a strategic way and those who translate that into actually being strategic. I really agree with him; there are a lot of people who see a possible future, and can even articulate the efforts that will take you there….but then who don't have the courage or motivation to move forward. Or perhaps they don't see the difference – they think it's enough to just think clearly, and don't understand that nothing changes unless you make the effort to use your clarity to affect the world.
Still getting an enormous kick out of the making-a-public-television-show process. It helps that the Detroit Public Television team working on this is so dedicated and competent! Here's their latest cool effort: the sell-sheet they created to let their buyers know that the DVD will be available.
I love that they both understand the topic and are genuinely excited about it – it shows both in the copy they write and in the quality of our interactions. I feel very grateful to have such smart and enthusiastic partners in this effort.
Today I was talking with a client about an employee of his – smart, hardworking, results-oriented – who is in some danger of losing her job simply because she is unable or unwilling to let go of her pre-conceived notions of how her boss should structure their department. More specifically, she seems to believe that she should have a bigger job.
In fact, that she should be given significant parts of a peer’s job – things that other person is doing very well. And her current position is great – it’s an important job, with responsibilities that could prepare her for and leverage her into bigger and even more interesting jobs in the future.
As I listened to him describing the situation, I thought: this is the negative power of the human ego. This person’s resistance could truly damage her career. Reading this, it may be hard not to think, “Why on earth doesn’t she just get with the program?”
But I bet each of us has done this at some point in our lives. I certainly have. Wanted something so intensely and were so completely convinced it was our due, that we ignored the impact our intransigence was having on important things in our lives: relationships, jobs, opportunities.
On Thursday and Friday of this week I had the opportunity to hang out with a group of marvelous women – smart, funny. warm, real. It was all due to the connector-nature (in the Malcolm Gladwell sense) of Wenda Harris Millard, who brought together a group of women CMOs in her beautiful Charleston home, and asked me to come and teach them the Being Strategic model.
They were all so delightful – and seemed to enjoy our conversation and find it valuable. And I was reminded how uniquely nourishing it can be to spend time with a group of women. There's something about women, when we're together – we bring all of who we are; professionals, moms, wives, sisters, daughters – into our conversations – and it's both deeply reinforcing and a source of new knowledge and insight.
Thank you so much, Wenda!
I'm sitting in the back of a car (from our excellent upstate limo service, Adriano) being driven home from LaGuardia after a week on the road. It's Friday night, and as Jerry heads up the Taconic, I'm finishing up loose ends from various client engagements, answering email, setting up some calls and meetings for next week.
As I write this, I'm feeling both bone-tired and extremely happy. I had two important client engagements this week, one in Minneapolis, and one in Chicago, and both were rife with problematic elements: either or both could have been a complete goat rodeo, as a friend of mine used to say.
But we navigated through them successfully. In fact, great work was done by all, and both clients are in a significantly better place than they were a week ago. In fact, I'd say we delivered on the Proteus brand promise big-time: both experienced us as illuminating, strengthening and trustworthy.
I feel extremely grateful that I get to help people in important ways. I love the satisfaction that comes from feeling that I've put all my attention, skill and experience into providing that help.
A great close to a long week…