My coaching client explained his mistake of the week. It was the same mistake as the week before. The exact same thing. And we had come up with a strategy to address it. And what did he say when I asked him if he used the strategy?
It took him under a week to forget the very thing he had found so important just seven days earlier. Of course, none of us are really that different.
What did you learn last week? Can you remember?
I bet there was something. Something you wanted to hold onto. Something important. (Maybe something I wrote.) But we forget.
Our memories do not correlate with importance.
Value does not predict retention.
Unless we make it so. I used to laugh about my colleagues who had post-its all over their monitors, reminding them of little lessons they picked up in life. But that made sense. They were ensuring that memory and importance actually connected.
Me? I still have a clean desk. And a mind like a sieve.
Tactical and strategic are a continuum. They are not buckets. Do something tactical enough times and it will be strategic. Often times the biggest changes in our worlds occur from the seed of tiny initial actions.
On Monday I wrote that strategy is at odds with innovation and reader Debby Cupani commented that corporate executives should visit elementary school classrooms to really get in touch with unfettered creative thinking.
In fact I think this is a terrific example of what I call Cross Strategizing. In cross training a tennis player might do rock climbing or play volleyball to build other muscle groups. In Cross Strategizing teams and organizations invite people foreign to their work to help them think in new directions.
If your company is in finance, invite people from hi-tech, marketing, and airline companies to join your strategy session.
If you are in hospitality, invite executives from automotive, healthcare, and energy.
They might slow you down as you have to explain more. Their ideas might be insane. They might make no sense. They may be radically different from anything you’d ever consider.
I used to joke that I could be spontaneous if you only told me where and when. Similarly, a lot of people and organizations say they want innovation, but they want it to fit their existing structure.
The problem is innovation is the enemy of strategy.
Your strategy is your plan. It’s your roadmap for where you will go next. To truly promote innovation in your organization you must be open to hearing any new idea. The least innovative ideas will fit neatly within your strategy. The most innovative will challenge the very essence of your strategy.
That’s the rub. By its very nature, innovation is disruptive. Strategy is stabilizing. Innovation seeks brand new directions. Strategy asks you to believe in and stay the course.
So seek innovation if you dare. But know that a battle is brewing, and it just might be up to you to determine if the victor is strategy or innovation.
One of my readers offered this statement:
Structured activity crowds out unstructured activity.
The structured activities are our routines and standard practices. They are our meetings and expense reports and project plans. They are our errands and TV shows and doing the dishes.
Business as usual at work crowds out creativity, strategic thinking, and looking for our blind spots.
Business as usual at home crowds out going for a walk, discovering and pursuing new dreams, and paying more attention to our loved ones.
What is getting crowded out by the structure in your life?