The Trojan Horse

It started 3,200 or so years ago when drop-dead gorgeous Helen, the one with the face that launched a thousand ships, ran off with a guy named Paris. This would have been okay except that Helen was married to a Greek -Menelaus, King of Sparta. 

  • At first the objective was to get Helen back.
  • Then it became take Troy and maybe get Helen back.
  • The siege strategy (which lasted 10 years) wasn’t working so Ulysses came up with the idea to get the gates open from the inside without the Trojans knowing.  They had tried different tactics which didn’t work; they needed a new tactic thus the Trojan Horse…

The Greeks won but it was the “tactic” that got the attention even though the strategy was solid.

What is strategy?

A strategy is a plan of action designed to achieve a particular goal.

Strategy is different from tactics. In military terms, tactics are concerned with the conduct of an engagement while strategy is concerned with how different engagements are linked. In other words, how a battle is fought is a matter of tactics: whether it should be fought at all is a matter of strategy.

How does Strategy come in to play in your business?  Why do we need strategy? Answer:  Competition and we’ve all got it.

Four Types of Strategies:  

  1. Competitive Advantage (increased value)
  2. Cost Leadership (cost savings)
  3. Differentiation (Apple uses this one) and 
  4. Focus (niche/cost and differentiation on a local/small scale)

How many of you have a written strategy with a plan of action (tactics) for the year?  

It’s all about making five straightforward choices: 

  • What’s your company’s purpose? 
  • Where will you compete? 
  • How can you win? 
  • What capabilities will you need? 
  • And what management systems must be in place?

Strategy is all about using the information you gather to create your plan of action (tactics).  

One of the biggest problems I see is that the strategy and plan is written but … the ideas, plans and activities you put into that strategy never get accomplished, why?  

Ever feel like a fire fighter?  This is crisis management.  You become reactive versus proactive.  You forget to use the plan as your compass throughout the year.  

Another obstacle can be getting involved with the “time wasters” like these top three:

Interruptions. Remember, you can’t control others but you can control yourself.  “Is this what I want or need to be doing right now?” If yes, then keep doing it.

Hopelessness.  You’re a victim of circumstance so you “give in”, “zone out” and end up “walking through your day”.  Why bother with a plan?  It all changes day to day anyway.

Poor delegation skills.  No one can do it like you can or it’s just easier to do it yourself.  

And, sometimes we lack the critical step of implementation. Any kind of change to our human behavior does not happen just because we “think about it” changing or write it down in a plan.  It takes an implementation plan with patience to understand that you may take some wrong turns and you just might miss some opportunities.  However, the most important part of change is your sense of urgency.  

It appears to me that our biggest obstacle is … us.

How can we make sure that change happens?

People have to feel the pain before they make the change.

How bad do you want or believe in your strategy?  If the urgency for change (or the pain) is not there ….. Implementation is much harder.

“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory.  Tactics without Strategy is the noise before defeat.”

Sun Tzu

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