While at the beginning of the year we focused on the importance of clearly defining our goals (why we do what we do) and on the best strategy to achieve them (what to do), now we want to encourage you to put in place your tactical skills: how to cross the finishing line successfully.
Strategy and tactics are not two opposing concepts, they must complement each other and be used with discernment, being careful to choose when to rely on one or the other to achieve maximum benefit. In the next few lines we will discover how to make them work in sinergy.
Tactics defuse alibis, strategy outlines dreams
We all have desires, dreams, goals that we aim to accomplish: strategy is the ability that allows us to identify the action plan to make them come true and achieve them. Analyzing stories of successes and failures, it is evident that planning is a necessary but not sufficient condition, here is where tacticts come into play. Unlike strategy, tactics aim at specific action and represent the only quality to face the main enemy that keeps us from our projects: alibis!
If Alessandro Casetti had stopped at the idea that “you don’t live with art”, today he wouldn’t be a well-known painter with works exhibited in numerous galleries from Amsterdam to Los Angeles. The same would have happened if Francesco Traina, who organizes horse trekking in central Sicily with guests from all over the world, had given credence to the phrase “certain things cannot be done in the South”.
“They’ve been lucky”, those who surrendered would like to scream. These people – like many others we could mention – managed to debunk their alibis thanks to their ability to work hard and face reality with courage: they tuned their hearts to what they wanted, by adapting their actions to the present moment. And this is nothing but acting with tactics.
Tactics require presence, strategy requires vision
If to design a good strategy you need analysis and vision skills, which are useful for predicting and preventing, in order to implement a winning tactic you need the ability to anchor yourself in the “here and now”.
Only by fully immersing yourself in the present will you be able to make decisions which are not based on a hypothetical situation but rather on what really is happening.
During the March 2020 lockdown, Alessandro Casetti overcame the inability to move and organize exhibitions recounting how his works are created both technically and emotionally. Francesco Traina had the courage and readiness to close his riding school and concentrate all his energy on the farm where he now raises horses which are also trained for trekking.
How can we forget the lessons that come from history. Napoleon Bonaparte was an undisputed master of tactics: he chose to “stand” in the battles, to feel the emotions of his men, to evaluate the unfolding of events so as to decide the best action to follow; in Waterloo, the only time he failed to do so, he lost.
When designing our strategy we can prepare ourselves for adverse events, but tactics become necessary to adapt to changes and act without alibis that might be used as an excuse to give up.
‘Alibi’ is the Latin word for elsewhere: nothing more true when we try to put the responsibility for failure out of ourselves.
Tactics are trained, strategy is planned
When you conceive your strategy, you plan a series of actions that must be carried out with commitment, dedication and trust in order to achieve your goal.
Just think about the farmers who hope to obtain a good harvest: they know they will have to till and fertilize the soil, make furrows and sow, go to the fields every day in order to check, remove the weeds and water the plants. And yet they are aware that part of the final result will not depend entirely on them. Weather conditions, presence of parasites, agricultural policies might change along the way. Their responsibility is therefore to refine their tactics so as to deal with the difficulties that may arise. This ability is trained through experience, resorting to dialogue with those who have already faced similar situations and with the humility to change when the conditions require it. In other words, tactics are trained by looking for solutions where others only see problems.
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The future is always a gamble and the illusion of ego is control through planning so rigid that it kills the ability to improvise. Tactics, on the other hand, feed on the ability to adapt, the child of creativity that is anchored in our deepest talents.
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Happy September, everyone!
Exercise: train your tactical ability
You can use your return to work after the summer break as an opportunity to train your tactical skills. Many of us already have agendas and heads full of things to do, deadlines and activities planned in every detail, to the point that we are already stressed at the thought of everything that needs to be done. It is quite the opposite of being in the “here and now” required by tactics. When you go back to work, instead of starting head-down and slavishly following what’s been planned, allow yourself some time to take stock, listen to colleagues, customers and suppliers, consider if new ideas have emerged or if the context has changed. Then adapt your planning to the situation. Starting calmly, giving yourself time to observe before acting, having the patience and flexibility to write a new plan if necessary, are certainly all tactical behaviours. They also show a certain “tact” with respect to life, whose assonance with the word tactics is not accidental at all.
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