When we're deploying an effective strategy, we get energized by how well the strategy is working. We're appreciating the timing, the approach and the outcomes. We're seeing others benefit from how effective our strategy has become. All this gets us thinking how we might take this game up a level or fine tune the strategy. We're continuing to rely on our strategic thinking and explore more possibilities.
When we're deploying an ineffective strategy, none of this occurs. We go into a vicious cycle instead. There seems to be no escape from the nightmare scenario spawned by the ineffective strategy. The vicious cycle convinces us to:
- rely exclusively on our tactical thinking
- worry constantly about what can go wrong next
- mistrust higher ups and other outsiders who we blame for the strategy mistakes
- stop trying to improve, change or revise what's not working
- assume that any creative possibility is too weird, inapplicable or costly to help out
- lose all sense of purpose and self motivation
- become entirely dependent on extrinsic rewards
- feed the array of problems with neglect, over-reacting and half-efforts
- struggle with apathy, depression, paranoia and sleeplessness
- put on show of complacency to hide all this inner turmoil
As you can see from this list, when we're caught up in deploying an ineffective strategy, we're in no shape to shape up. It's as if we're stuck in a hole where our only options are to dig deeper or to do nothing. The way out begins with letting go of trying to get out of the vicious cycle. It helps to not-know what to see, think and do. Progress occurs by seeing the repeating patterns with detachment, where they can be critiqued, challenged and dismissed. The exit is found when we switch to our strategic thinking.