Are you a “what” or “how” person?

Strategy is about how. How are you going to approach a situation. Most people are more comfortable dealing in “what” than “how.” In order to get to “what” you need to beging by developing the “how.”

You will see this in discssions. These people often frustrate each other because they speak different languages. Big picture people typically enjoy discussing HOW to accomplish something, and often don’t translate it to the point where it becomes a tactic. “WHAT” people may understand the need for strategy but may become frustrated if the discussion doesn’t quickly take a turn to a practical / tactical level. Both kinds of people are important. HOW people often live in the future, while WHAT people live in the now.

Identify your own tendancy to work one way or the other and learn to stay on target with the type of planning at hand.

If you are a WHAT person – Recognize that blue sky, future focused, strategic discussions are the only way you’re ever going to get in front of your competition.

If you are a HOW person – Recognize that nothing will get done without the detailed attention of a WHAT person.

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How to identify an appropriate approach to a meeting.

If you are doing strategic planning – the output should not normally be anything you can check off. If you are doing operational planning – the out should be tactical (things that can be checked off).

By recognizing your own natural tendancies, you will be better able to contribute to planning sessions. This will result in less friction between you and your counterparts who think differently.

Comments about simplicity

It is my observation that the challenges we face in business most often boil down to simple issues at their core.

With all of the complex matrices and systems we have in place, it is easy to get wrapped up in the details and lose sight of the issues at their most basic level. In other words, every challenge comes down to a simple problem. When we lose this simple view, we lose touch with our ability to resolve that issue.

This is not to say that the solution is supposed to be simple as the problem. However, the solution only comes when the problem has been clearly identified.