Strategy is a term you’ll have heard in all manner of self help business growth books over the last few years. It’s one of the words of the moment, industry leaders love to drop it into their speeches, but what does it mean and how can you utilise it to get things done?
Strategy and tactics tend to go hand in hand and it’s not possible to talk about one without mentioning the other. Strategy is your grand overarching plan that says you want to get from A to B. Tactics is then how you make that journey step by step — the fine details.
Clearly if you want to figure out what it is you want in life then you have to start with strategy rather than tactics. Regular readers of this blog will know that we’re always on the lookout for new ways to improve our productivity and get more done, whether that be in or out of work. Strategy by it’s very nature can be used in any setting, but it’s probably best suited to the world of work and figuring out which direction you want to take your career.
Defining Your Strategy
When some people think of strategic thinking they think of it as an overly aggressive term. This is because it tends to be used heavily by the armed forces for planning operations. That said, there’s no reason that your career plan needs to have anything amounting to confrontation in it; it just needs to have a clear beginning middle and end.
Consider the industry you work in, write down your options, and pay attention to how the people in the places you want to get to go there themselves. There’s no need to get competitive at this stage, just focus on creating a clear picture of what it is you want to achieve and from there all else will follow.
The issue many people have when trying to develop a strategy is that they get scared of thinking: ‘too big’ and end up moving back into the world of tactics. What you need to do here is forget about your current situation for the time being and focus on what you want to achieve in the long term. The following exercise might help you break out of your current way of thinking:
Take a piece of paper and give yourself 30 minutes to write down what your career would look like if you could shape it anyway you wanted. Don’t worry about how you’ll achieve it, just focus on what it is that you want to achieve.
Over to You
Now that you have your strategy in place you need to start filling in those fine details in the form of your tactics. Remember that you won’t be able to achieve everything overnight so don’t try. Review your tactics regularly so that you can break up your strategy into little manageable chunks. Just be sure that you don’t chop and change your longterm strategy every couple of weeks just because you’ve decided you’ll never be able to achieve.
Stay focused and positive and you’ll be amazed at how different things will look after 12 months.