Think the unthinkable
I know that this isn’t a very PC quote to start with, but it illustrates a point: “Strategy is buying a bottle of fine wine when you take a lady out for dinner. Tactics is getting her to drink it.” The words of comedy writer Frank Muir, from a rather different age, but it continues neatly from my previous posting about Strategy. Strategy is about winning wars, Tactics is about winning battles, and you can quote me on that.
So what happens when tactics have to be used to deal with situations ‘on the ground’ which either haven’t been planned for, or which are so extreme that they could never have been planned for? Think of something unthinkable like the collapse of the Twin Towers in New York. There was no specific strategy to deal with such a disaster, but amazingly the emergency services used tactics which resulted in many people being brought to safety who would otherwise have died. Robust tactics work. Or to give you another...
In my last posting I was talking about that useful phrase, ‘The map is not the territory’ and how it applies to getting a business up and running, particularly during the fundraising phases. It’s one thing to have a plan on paper (or spreadsheet) and quite another thing when it comes to how that plan matches reality. And yet we must have a plan, or a better word is Strategy. If there is a true strategy for a business, then it adds huge strength to the offering. It turns somethings vague into something concrete. But as the strategy specialist Jeroen de Flander says, “You cannot be everything to everyone. If you decide to go north, you cannot go south at the same time.” If that sounds simplistic, believe me, I’ve seen very many businesses trying to go north and south at the same time, with less than optimal results.
So to succeed, a business must have a plan, like a builder must have a plan before commencing work on a house. The...
The map is not the territory
Between 1763 and 1767 a remarkable piece of science occurred: A surveyor named Dixon and an astronomer called Mason accurately drew the boundaries between four American states. They did this on the actual land, not on a map, because that was the problem they were asked to solve. The British King had casually drawn some lines on a map of America, but no-one really knew what this meant in the reality of the physical world. The Mason-Dixon line had to cross rivers and mountains, and even on occasion went right through the middle of houses! Every step of the way the two scientists had to check and test and calibrate, because if they were a fraction of a degree wrong at one point, a hundred miles further on, the boundary would be significantly in error.
Do you see where I’m going with this story?
Mason and Dixon faced many problems in their work, one of which was the previously unknown fact that the mass of the mountains they were in the middle of was...
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