The Basics: Goals, Strategies, Tactics

Ever get lost in a discussion?
Ever end up disagreeing with someone when you thought you were on the same side?
Ever get caught helping someone to achieve something you really didn’t want to help them with?

Sure you have, we all have.

Usually, it’s because we didn’t really start out understanding the basics of the situation we were in. We get into the details and lose the overview.

So let’s start with the basics.

You may be familiar with the goal/strategy/tactic model in business, or in the military. You use the same structure with everything you do, you just haven’t thought about it formally.

Bottom up:

Something you DO is a tactic. Why do you do it?
To accomplish some part of your strategy. Why did you formulate that strategy?
To achieve a goal.

Top down:

Something you WANT is a goal. How do you get it?
Formulate a strategy to achieve that goal. How do you accomplish the strategic objective?
By executing the tactics you defined as part of the strategy.

Same Tactic, Different Strategy, VERY Different Goals

Two people can agree on a tactic, even though they have different strategies, and different ultimate goals.

This is where co-opetition happens, This is where politics makes strange bedfellows.

Leftist and Anarchists work together to create Occupy Wall Street – raising awareness, getting media attention, making “the system” of capitalism out to be the enemy. They shared the same tactics.

Anarchists’ ultimate goal is NO government, the leftists’ goal is top down big central government. They’ll separate at some point, but they worked together quite well. Note that even though they had different GOALS, they actually shared the same STRATEGY in addition to common tactic. The strategy of defeating the right is one they share.

Same Goal, Different Strategy, Different Tactics

Two people can have the same goal, but be executing completely different tactics, and not need to know anything about what the other person is doing.

This is how two people on the same side can work at what may seem to be cross purposes, or, more common, neither know nor care particularly what the other group is doing.

Pro-lifers don’t need to know who Objectvists are. If they took the time to talk they’d realize they agree, but given time constraints, they don’t really need to even be aware of the existence of each other.

If both groups keep executing their tactical plans, they’ll accomplish their strategic objectives, which would be more closely related, and then they’ll reach the goal, which they share.

How is This Insight Helpful?

Awareness of this structure, and the questions that provide the movement and direction (how and why) really will help you understand where you are, where you’re going, who can help you, and who is hurting you.

It can keep you from wasting time on unimportant things.

It can keep you focused.