The Gap between Vision, Strategy and Tactics

1 03 2009

sf-map

A Gap is what happens when people forget to bring together and include vital parts of the whole.  Companies get gaps when they fail to recognize and integrate key parts of running their organizations.  This can happen with Vision, Strategy and Tactics.

Imagine you are taking a trip. Vision is the action of dreaming so clearly that you know exactly where you’re going, say San Fransisco, and recognize it clearly when you get there.  Strategy plans out the big picture of how you want to get there, which highways and which bridges, and tactics deal with the actual process of getting to the destination, driving, potty breaks and getting gas.  These three activities must work together for a company to live out its greatest potential and get to the final destination in a timely manner and yet are rarely used together, but why?  I believe that there are three reasons for this. 

The first is that Vision, Strategy and Tactical are extremely different from each other and most people gravitate towards one style or the other.  Since people start companies and typically hire similar people around them that think like they do you get a company that leans primarily to one style. 

The second reason is that learning to move back and forth between Vision, Strategy and Tactics is difficult.  It requires learned skills and a lot of work.  It also helps if you understand the purpose and language of all three types.

The Third reason is that most people understand the complexities of the way they think but believe that there isn’t much to the other two.  In reality, all three are complex and sophisticated in there own right.  One of the biggest mistakes to avoid is to over simplify a process.  We also simplify the consequences.  It either works or it doesn’t, we say.  We believe that if we do a little vision or a little strategy then we have accomplished all we need.

The Questions:

What type of person do you tend to be?   Most people are gifted towards one of the three, are you?  Finally, what are your GAPS in this area and what will you do to strengthen them?

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Keep your head in the clouds but…

1 03 2009

istock_000003187407xsmallAll my life I have had a natural tendency to dream about the future, about what could be.  I also like to strategize about what it would take to get there and most of my life growing up I was told to get my head out of the clouds and get to work.  It happened in school, at home and as a teen it even happened at work.  Now I know this sounds bad and maybe you can here the, “Poor is me” fiddle playing but it’s not.  The truth was that I didn’t perform well as a kid growing up.  I didn’t get my homework done, I didn’t get my chores done and I didn’t always do well at my job early in life, unless it meant talking to people.  That was always something I had no trouble in producing.

The problem was that well meaning people around me tried to motivate me to be productive and do what I needed to do by inferring that my dreaming and planning wasn’t productive or valuable.  They didn’t see the benefit to what was going on in my head and consequently neither did I. 

While I was maturing in life I was naturally drawn to dreaming and building things.  It was a hobby, an outlet and often a distraction.  I continued to here the message, “get your head out of the clouds and get your feet on the ground” until I was about 30 years old when a friend heard someone say it to me and stopped us all dead in our tracks.

What he said to me that day is at the core of who I am and how I look at the world, “Keep your head in the clouds but keep your feet on the ground.”  That’s right, it seems like a paradox but that paradox gave me a since of freedom that day but I didn’t understand how to make it happen.  I just knew that it was important and that was the day I was introduced to the idea that BOTH dreaming and the practical are both valuable. Today I have learned that I can see from the vantage point of the clouds while getting things done on the ground.

Do you know the importance of both?  Can you hold this paradox?