I have a theory.  My theory is that there are basically two groups of people in the world.  Some have a strategic bent and others don’t.  Obviously, there are degrees in between.  But generally, there are two groups.  Given any situation that calls for planning or laying out the steps to a successful launch or roll-out there are some people that just go there intuitively, in some ways coldly examining the possibilities and looking for ways to game the situation.  And the other group looks blankly at the whiteboard like a calf looks at a new gate (how’s that for a little Texas lingo?).

That’s how the theory goes.  You buy it?  Oh…and one more important detail…there’s no right or wrong in this.  It’s a wiring thing.  Like some people can balance a checkbook and others just open a new account and wait for the old one to zero out.  Or some people like everything neatly put away and others are totally ok with a little mess (or a big mess).

So here are the questions of the day:

  1. If there were a continuum…and on one end was the word "strategic"…and on the other end was the diet coke of strategy…which end would you be on?
  2. Why do you read StrategyCentral?  Do you read it because you resonate with the strategic bent?  Or maybe you like to prime your strategic pump?  Or maybe you’re just an anarchist?  What makes you stop by?

Would you tell me?

Are You Strategic?
  • I coldly examine everything.
    I stop by because you’re a smart guy who I figure can teach me a thing or two on a regular basis.

  • I’m definitely a strategist by nature. However I believe, while there are those pre-disposed to being strategic thinkers or non-strategic thinkers, almost anyone can learn how to be a strategic thinker to a major degree. In that way it’s a bit like leadership – there are natural leaders and there are natural followers, but of these latter most can be trained to be leaders – and often better leaders that the natural ones!!!
    Shalom
    Gordon

  • Hey James and Gordon! Thanks for jumping in!
    Gordon, have you seen someone learn to think strategically? I question the notion that it can happen to a “major degree” or that natural followers can “often” become “better leaders” than the natural ones. Not that it can’t happen…just not often or in a big way. What do you think?

  • Robert Davis

    By nature I’m not strategic. I subscribe out of deficit. I value the gift. I understand the need. I just ain’t got it as one of my natural strengths. On the other hand…need someone who thinks on their feet? Can respond and react swiftly and acquire talent and resources efficiently and effectively? May not be anyone on the planet better suited. This topic always makes me laugh because it reiterates our need for each other. No one brings everything to the table. Since I’m not “strategic” I’ve decide to pursue a new category, “Strategory”. I have it and who can argue with it because no one knows what it is….yet!

  • Hi Mark
    Yes, I have seem someone learn to be strategic. From being very much an ‘operational’ person to becoming a key ‘strategic thinker’ in the organization over a period of 2-3yrs. I have also seen a number of people who initially were followers become significant leaders through a planned program of Personal Development over a 3 year period. While a ‘pre-disposition’ helps, many (and I’d say most) of the skills can be taught.
    One of the things I notice is that these ‘trained’ people are often better in that they do not rely on ‘basic instincts’ to make their mark. They know their strengths and weaknesses much more clearly that the natural leader/strategist and operate accordingly. I know a number of ‘natural leaders’ (myself included) who have burnt-out in the field because of a lack of this awareness.
    I think – ref Strategy – that a reason we see so few strategists and so little strategic thinking taught, is that most people are still caught up in the ‘strategic planning’ mindset rather than a ‘strategic thinking’ one.
    Shalom
    Gordon

  • Thanks, Gordon, for drilling down on your earlier ideas. Makes sense. Cool that you’ve seen growth! And you’re so right on the strategic planning vs. thinking mode.
    Robert, you’re making a great point here too! Love the idea that every one of us plays a distinct part and that all the parts are necessary. I like to say, there are no appendixes in this body!
    mark