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Strategize: Why and How 

 December 11, 2020

By  Barbara

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In the fast-paced world of today, how we achieve our goals and succeed in life can seem like an insurmountable challenge. Long gone is the era of simple action plans and typical conference calls. With accelerated technological advances popping up with every tick of the clock’s second hand, we frequently see ourselves scrambling to hold up.

The answer to the question?

Strategize.

You can have control over your goals. It just takes a bit of finesse, a dash of patience, and a heaping ton of strategy.  Learning how to strategize is not only empowering and liberating, it is essential for your ultimate success. 

What do we mean by strategy?

To strategize is to determine how you will execute what you want to achieve. It solves the looming “how am I going to manage this?” question.

Strategy is important because the resources available to achieve goals are usually limited. Strategy generally involves setting goals and priorities, determining actions to achieve the goals, and mobilizing resources to execute the actions. (en.wikipedia.org)

A strategy describes how the ends (goals) will be achieved by the means (resources). (en.wikipedia.org)

What makes strategy different?

Strategies are NOT the same as plans, goals, outcomes, purposes, missions, or even visions. Let’s break it down.

  •  Plans: Plans are developed to sort through what is needed to complete a goal. Plans can be lists of resources, milestones, and timeframes. 
  •  Goals: Goals are quantifiable results. The goals are the measurable portions of what you want to achieve (think numbers: for example, a set percentage profit gain).
  •  Outcomes: Outcomes are the aftermath of reaching your goals. These are the things that happen or result from achieving your ends.
  •  Purposes: Purposes answer the “why am I answering this?” question. They are ultimately the motivating force behind the action.
  •  Missions: Missions combine your values and your purposes. Missions are most simply what makes you YOU. 
  •   Visions: Visions are the realization of the endless possibilities. They are the “feel” of what you wish to accomplish. Visions, unlike goals, are intangible and cannot be scientifically measured.


Why strategize?

By developing and executing a strategy, you will save yourself money, time, and energy.  Strategizing is the intelligent way to go about accomplishing your ends. It sets you up for success because of its inherent structure and organization. By strategizing before you barrel through aimless steps that might create desired change, you can avoid unnecessary frustrations and potential disaster.

One straightforward implication is that you can't develop a strategy for your business without first thinking through mission and goals. (hbr.org)


What other reasons do people strategize?

Strategy opens up the possibility of achieving MORE than you expected. By working through the steps of strategizing, you can force yourself to realistically achieve loftier goals. Maintaining structure and organization will become second nature, and you will see your potential outcomes thrive.


What types of goals should have a strategy?

ANY goal deserves a strategy! A strategy is not something that is only relevant to your most pressing goals. It is an innovative way to meet your expectations.


Is there a “right” strategy for my problem?

The quick answer is no. There is a vast quantity of viable strategies for whatever position. Just as there are many ways to get to New York City, there are many paths to success. These paths, your strategies, can be adapted to fit your personal needs and enhanced by your personal strengths and talents.


Who can strategize?

Anyone can strategize. Strategies are appropriate for personal goals, financial goals, business success, and professional success to name a few. The possibilities are limitless. If you can think of a goal, you can develop an appropriate strategy for success.


How do you set about producing a strategy?

Ask yourself some questions below.

1)   What’s the shortest path between point A and point B? Be honest with yourself and weigh all possibilities, regardless of whether they are mainstream or not. Creativity and innovative thinking count for a great deal!

2)   What are other people doing and how could I do it differently?

3)   What is the craziest idea I can develop to get from point A to point B? What makes it a crazy idea?

4)   What is blocking me from being unconventional?

5)   What is the laziest way to go from point A to point B? (This can help you brainstorm viable shortcuts. Cut out the unnecessary!)

6)   If I had endless resources, what would I want my goal to be?

7)   What do I have to work with here? What resources are available for my business? Whose talents can I use to meet these goals?


Do I have to be creative to strategize?

Yes! Hone into your inner inventive nature. Think outside the box. Be the artist. In short, do something different.


Will it really matter in the end?

Absolutely. Creating and executing a strategy will change you. For the better! It will help you streamline your creative process, and soon you will discover how much more efficient goal setting becomes. Also, you will begin to develop a new skill set that you can use beyond the boardroom. This innovative way of thinking will seep into your subconscious and before you know it, your whole life will become more structured and organized.

How you structure your business, your people, and other resources – all of these affect competitive advantage and can support your strategic goals. (mindtools.com)


What’s the outcome of starting to strategize?

Learning how to strategize will help prepare you for anything. The beauty of strategy is that it can help expand your goals AND help you perform optimally when faced with unpredictable obstacles. So whether you want to set higher goals or dig yourself out of an unforeseen difficulty, knowing how to strategize will save you time, energy, and resources.


About the author 

Barbara

An award-winning CTO and VC Fund Manager helping entrepreneurs and investors understand emerging technology.

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