Vision, strategy, goals, tactics, tools—people often use these terms interchangeably and your thinking can get muddled in the process. In this video, learn how to define and distinguish them so you can sharpen how you think about tackling problems.
- Vision, strategy, goals, tactics, tools, blah, blah, blah. People often use these terms interchangeably when they want to sound cool and jargony, and it's easy for your thinking to get muddled in the process. What are we actually talking about when we talk about strategy? The key to keeping it straight is thinking about the path from long term down to short term, from the big picture down to the details of how it's going to get accomplished. At the far end, you have your vision. If we're talking about the individual level, maybe it's the you'll become a leader who helps to change the world. So the question is how do you do that? That's where strategy comes in. Strategy is about the big-picture choices you make, how you decide which road to go down. You decide to take the job in healthcare rather than in finance. Or you decide you're going to become a specialist in artificial intelligence because you believe that's the next important wave. Strategy is being clear and proactive in choosing what you're going to do and especially, this is the part people forget, what you're not going to do. Once you get your strategy down, it's time to think about goals. How do you operationalize your strategy? How do you make it real? If you want to become a specialist in AI, maybe that means going back to school for a special degree program. Or maybe your goal is reading a book a week on AI for the next year. There are a lot of possible ways to achieve your strategy. The ones you pick, those are your goals that you work to accomplish. Getting clear on them keeps you honest and ensures you're actually making progress. But goals themselves are often too big to just mark down and say, "Oh, I'll do that." They're sometimes complex and require a lot of steps. So to make sure you don't get lost or distracted, it's important to get clear on your tactics. You can't just say you're going to read a book a week and then expect it to magically happen. Your tactic could be blocking out an hour in your calendar every morning before you start work, or deciding that you're going to read everyday on the train instead of listen to music. If you wanted to pursue a degree program, maybe the tactics would involve securing informational interviews with students who are currently enrolled in the program to see if it's a fit, or taking a prep course to ensure you score better on the admission test. Tactics are the concrete activities you undertake to make your goals, and therefore your strategy, and therefore your vision, come to life. Strategic thinking is a virtue. But to make strategy happen, you have to know how the pieces fit together and what goals and tactics you need to implement to succeed.
- Embracing the strategic mindset
- Making time
- Learning from the past
- Getting details right
- Strategic thinking with a team
- Measuring success