Whenever we're thinking about making a change, making an impact or making progress, it's time to look at our challenge through strategic lenses. If we take the situation literally, at face value or superficially, we're likely to function as our own worst enemy. Poor strategic judgment is the result of a failure to see what is hidden, subtle and unstated. Strategic lenses correct that deficiency by questioning our choice of perceptions.
1. Strategic outlook or tactical fixation? When we're seeing our situation strategically, we combine a panoramic overview with focused attention. We get the big picture and the particulars of the detailed situation. We remember the purpose/mission of our intervention while getting down to the task at hand.
----- When we're suffering from tactical fixation, we've lost sight of the mission, big picture and access to alternative maneuvers. We're trapped by our attention to details, fear of getting distracted and obsession with being right about the obvious evidence. We dwell on the details and miss the opportunities to outmaneuver the opposition.
2. Direct or indirect strategy? When we see a process to trust and nurture, we feel we can take an indirect approach. We create demand, hunger, appetite or urges in others. We get them to sell themselves on what we're selling instead of giving them a sales pitch. We let go of making the results happen and allow the desired outcome to come around on its own.
----- When we're oblivious to any trustworthy process, we're left with no alternative but to take a direct approach. We become pushy, persistent and obnoxious to make things happen. We expect to succeed by forcing the issue, overcoming objections and intimidating the opposition.
3. Strategic or literal weakness? When we realize how strengths can backfire, bait attacks or slow down our own maneuvers, we see the benefits of weakness. We sense the wisdom in appearing to be a work in progress than a finished work of art. We suspect we're indulging in overconfidence, hubris and conceited outlooks when we think we're strong, better or invulnerable. We look for the flip-side of each presumed strength for its inherent weakness, failing or shortcoming.
----- When we take our strengths literally, we're afraid of appearing weak. We come on too strong, make enemies of potential allies and overstep our bounds. We don't know when to back off because it's inconceivable how that could be a show of hidden strength rather than an obvious admission of defeat, inferiority or vulnerability.
4. Strategic emptiness or fullness? When we're observant of how our minds function under pressure, we see the wisdom in increasing innocence. We favor our mental resources for questioning the obvious and becoming fascinated with unforeseen possibilities. We challenge our predictions for what always happens, never occurs and cannot come about. We see how to take advantage of others presumptions to play them for the fool.
----- When we're afraid of how our minds sabotage our over-zealous ambitions, we regard innocence as dangerous vulnerability. We favor our mental resources for aggression, conviction and endurance. We become full of ourselves and easily baited by others' shows of weakness, vulnerability and ignorance. We keep up our own confidence at all cost rather than shatter our preconceptions with a reality check.
When we look at a situation through all these strategic lenses, we'll get a very different sense of what to do. We derail our tendency to jump to conclusions. We give ourselves more to reflect upon and consider from several different angles.