Virtually everyone reading this Tips for Success is intellectually aware, and would agree that well thought out strategy should be developed before spending precious time and energy on tactics. However, reality proves that most people spend relatively little time and energy on strategy… then eagerly dive into spending significant time and energy on tactics. This is true in the personal and professional lives of most people. Why does intellectual understanding not square and align with reality?
There are many reasons why most people’s behavior does not align with what they intellectually know to be true and important regarding First Strategy… Then Tactics. Three of the most significant reasons are:
- Thinking, particularly focused, sustained, strategic thinking is hard work. Very hard work. Most people, including many relatively successful people, avoid focused, sustained, strategic thinking like the plague. Study after study proves that most people spend very little, and in many cases, almost no time and energy truly thinking during their average day… or week… or month. The time and days of most people are almost totally dominated by habit; and focused, sustained, strategic thinking is not even close to being one of their habits (for more on habits, check out my article, “Make Good Habits and Become Their Slave“). Quick, superficial thinking and decisions consume the day… such as what to wear, where to have lunch and with whom, where to go for dinner, what to watch on TV and when to go to bed. Scheduling meetings consumes significant time in the lives of many people. Many, if not most of these meetings are consciously or subconsciously arranged in order to avoid focused, sustained, strategic thinking and to avoid personal and professional risk. Working through a quickly compiled and somewhat superficial “to do list” is also a way to avoid deep, strategic thinking. Focused, sustained, strategic thinking is virtually never a priority, is rarely on the “to do list” and therefore almost never happens in the daily lives of most people.
- Thinking, and the conclusions and decisions resulting from thinking involve risk… sometimes mild, sometimes moderate and other times significant personal and professional risk. Most people avoid risk like the plague… even though doing so guarantees mediocrity and limited success at best.
- Most people, including almost all “driven” people are action oriented. Their “let’s get on with it… let’s make something happen” orientation is highly admirable, but can result in far too little time and energy spent thinking through the most effective and efficient strategies. Far too often, people yield to the temptation to get on with it and make something happen… now! “Just Do It” is their motto and way of life. Serious thought, analysis and evaluation regarding WHY they are doing whatever they are doing many times never happens. Personal and professional burnout and shipwrecks are the unfortunate result.
So, what about you? In terms of focused, sustained, strategic thinking… where are you personally, and where are you professionally on most days? On a scale of 1 to 10, 1 representing very little focused, sustained, strategic thinking and 10 representing significant focused, sustained, strategic thinking… where are you? Be honest… the balance of your life and your personal and professional success (however you define success) are at stake! This is very serious business!
Highly successful people regularly engage in focused, sustained, strategic thinking. They understand that there is a direct correlation between effective strategic thinking (strategy), execution (tactics)… and success. The most successful think and live a fulfilling life comprised and dominated by Strategy First… Then Tactics.
So… what about you? Want more success in your life? Strategy First… Then Tactics!