January 23, 2020
Brian Strom

Unpopular Opinion: think more tactically

Tell me if you’ve heard this one before: It’s the second half of January and more than 50% of New Year’s resolutions have failed by now.

We repeat the same cycle every year. The twittersphere, LinkedIn, Facebook, and the rest give us great ideas for our New Year’s resolutions leading up to January 1st and then are sure to let us know that we’ve failed ourselves a few weeks later.

The same cycle exists with businesses and their strategies. Our internet friends are happy to give us tips, templates, articles, e-books, and more for creating the ultimate strategic plan, OKR framework, mission statements, and visions! Then they also love to tell us that up to 70% of well-conceived strategic plans will fail.

Change is the essence of a resolution or a strategic plan, and people are really bad at making change. Something more urgent, easier, more comfortable, less stressful will always come along and pull us away from the work needed to impart change on a complex system. Worse, there’s always a next more urgent problem after the last one. Next, it’s the middle of January and your resolution is a statistic in a USA Today article, or your strategic plan is a case study in the HBR.

So, if change is the essence of strategy and resolutions, and we are really bad at change then we will continue to see the annual stories of failure…unless we get better at changing. Put simply it’s time to stop thinking strategically and start thinking tactically. Create the tactics, process, routine, and stats for the work needed to achieve change.

  • Create and document a process for something you procrastinate on or struggle with. This will minimize any decision making involved with the task. Every decision that you have to make up until the point you accomplish a task is an opportunity for you to choose to do something else. Don’t give yourself that opportunity!
  • Creating a concrete schedule will force you to manage the urgent stuff thrown at you daily around your strategy. Otherwise, you will need to find time to squeeze strategy work into an already hectic day.
  • Combining process and schedule generates routine. Routine reinforces the schedule and process. Once you’re in the groove, you’re on the path to success.
  • And finally, make sure you are tracking the work, schedule, and the reasons you are doing the work (AKA your objectives). This will make sure that you are
    • Actually putting in the work–don’t let your subconscious fool you!
    • Making progress against the overall objectives.
    • Holding yourself accountable and correcting any slips before you become a strategy statistic. 

So there you have it. If you want to succeed strategically then stop thinking strategically and start thinking tactically….And of course: HoneIn has a platform to help make all of this happen.

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