When we not getting the results we intended, we're probably deploying a flawed strategy. But rather than admit this possibility, we're usually very tempted to stick to our guns. We think to ourselves:
- I must not be trying hard enough
- Don't be a quitter
- I can make this work if I stay with this long enough
- All this takes is a little more determination and endurance
All this amounts to trying to get a different result with the same old approach. It's time to dissect the flawed strategy to find the error of our ways. There are no easy answers when looking for strategic flaws. We can err by going to either extreme on four continuums. Finding the middle ground defies pure logic and calls for getting a good feeling about the possibility. Here one way to dissect how you're trying to get an intended result:
- We can miss opportunities that we're staring us in the face, hidden from view or behind us when we're looking the other way. We blind ourselves from seeing opportunities by the urge to be right at all cost, making unquestionable predictions or assuming things that obscure reality.
- We can fall for mistaken opportunities that seem very alluring, beneficial or even too good to be true. We chase after mirages when we're extremely desperate, lacking, insecure or needy.
- We can set up retaliation with our strategy by seeming unfair, unjust or exploitative to others. If they're feeling compromised, backed into a corner, shortchanged or ripped off, our strategy will win the battle, but lose the war. We will have created enemies looking for opportunities to make us pay, look bad or regret our abuse of them.
- We can attract parasites with our strategy by being too generous, making too many concessions or sacrificing our own interests like a martyr. We send a message that we welcome dependency, support neediness or encourage clinging to our enterprise.
- We can indulge in tactical fixation like the kid with a hammer in his hand who sees everything to be the head of a nail. We become a creature of habit, enslaved by our success routines or captivated by cranking out the product.
- We can suffer from a tactical disconnect where we're all talk and no action. We get stuck in the idea stage, refining our dreams or indulging in wishful thinking when the disciplines of hard work, slow progress and tedious refinements seem repulsive.
- We can work a single pronged strategy where "all our eggs are in one basket". Our strategy is only good for things going according to our plan. We're derailed by slight variations, unexpected changes or more complexity than we can handle.
- We can think scattered efforts are better than a single shot at success. We avoid committing to, focusing on and finalizing an approach to keep our options open, to escape perfectionistic pressures or make a show of continued dedication.
Each strategic error can be corrected according to what's missing, overdone or ill-conceived. Each diagnosis dictates what to do and thus makes it crucial to correctly assess how a strategy is flawed.