The pandemic exposed our weaknesses, and for the first time, we understood the importance of working together to overcome a common problem in our lives. Yet millions of people refused to work together because they believed the government was not transparent about the pandemic.
The Covid-19 Pandemic is an eye-opener. It exposed the strengths and weaknesses of governing systems. The spread revealed the depth of interdependence and the lack of global institutions to cope with its manifold connections. Enemies aligned their resources to eradicate the Coronavirus. There was a close collaboration to deal with the elephant in the world. We all had a common enemy. This enemy forced our hands to do things differently.
I learned a lot during the pandemic. I saw my business suffer because I never knew how long the pandemic would last. There was no data that indicated. I continued to expand my business, and I ran out of resources. Things abruptly shut down without warning. It was so rough and tough. To survive, I had to strategise. I believe everyone is strategising to get on top of the ball.
A strategy helps you define your business, gives it a set of values, and gives it purpose. It enables you to understand what success actually looks like. It provides a roadmap for your business, shows you your destination, and identifies valuable stopping points.
I asked if you are a strategist or a manager? The general is the most excellent strategist of all time. I have mentioned a general, and you are thinking of war. If you could agree that life is a constant battle, we can establish we are in a war. We are fighting to triumph. We are fighting to survive. We want to keep fit and eat a balanced diet, so we have the advantage over our health. There are too many angles you need to defend in your life. As such, you must become the general of your life to strategise ways you can overcome life's enemies.
I am a strategist because I can understand the significance of events without being influenced by current opinions, changing attitudes, or my own bias and prejudices. I can make decisions quickly, the process is called bias to action, and I take the indicated action without being deterred by perceived danger. I am not saying that I do not make mistakes, but it is part of the process, even if I did. It is part of my lessons learned. I am not afraid to try something and fail because failure to me is feedback. I have all these tools working in my favour.
Accepting that mistakes and failure are part of my management team is another strategy. No test can precisely evaluate someone's strategic management competence. But there are vital questions and behaviours in the form of a self-administered test that can draw practical conclusions about the strategic abilities of the individual.
You cannot teach strategy because strategy is applied to common sense. Common sense cannot be taught. School only offers you ways to develop yourself. Common sense, often just known as sense, is sound, practical judgment concerning everyday matters or an essential ability to perceive, understand, and judge in a shared manner that is common to nearly all people. Here, it is not about your perception, not your biases, but about the people, you are dealing with. It is not about race or religion. It is not about love or hate. It is about service.
Do you know what it takes to be a strategist? What factors will determine the level of your strategic management competence? You need to have an entrepreneurial vision to be a good strategist. An entrepreneur's vision is the start of a roadmap that will determine where you go with your efforts. Vision speaks to what you want the business to look like in the future—perhaps five or ten years out.
Vision comes first, even when I have no idea how the vision can materialise. I am passionate about the vision, even if I don't know how to accomplish it. A clear vision, supported by the courage to implement it, will significantly increase your chances of success. Staying focused and filled with purpose gives you a more significant opportunity to experience fulfilment and significance.
The pandemic was very harsh on my business, but my vision brought me out of the bottomless pit. My vision was part of my strategic plan. That vision made me overcome and continue to strive despite all the obstacles.
Without a clear vision, you will spend a lot of time and energy pondering, asking questions without making any progress. You will start doubting yourself as you wonder what you could be doing, should be doing, and what is next. You might lose faith in yourself and wonder if your life really matters. The truth is that we all face these moments. We will all end up somewhere in life. Those with vision will end up somewhere on purpose.
What is most critical before starting your strategic plan is to be able to define your vision and mission. Your vision is the foundation for everything good or bad in the 'as-it' and 'to-be.' Strategy cannot achieve anything apart from the mission. The mission is an embodiment of the vision. Your strategy should include both short- and long-term goals and should explain how those goals will be achieved. You focus on as-it actions and outcomes, which is your current state to move closer to achieving the to-be, your anticipated future state. Strategies are not static; they are dynamic as they are adjusted for present factors.
An excellent strategist is a natural problem solver. They are solutions architects. They swiftly identify the most efficient, creative and innovative ways to overcome any challenge. They are great listeners who are compassionate and empathetic. They put themselves in the shoes of their subject to feel what they feel without apportioning blame and being judgemental. As a result, they have insight. This makes them excellent communicators, and they can get their message across beautifully. These attributes, coupled with a deep knowledge of the subject and domain expertise, can result in a strategic mastermind.
You need to identify objectives and, as you do, develop an implementation plan for achieving them. There are many resources, but not every resource will be helpful, so you must identify only resources that will be helpful. To do this, you need to understand the key issues and deal with these issues from the root bringing into play root cause analysis.
Finally, your interpretation of data to formulate insight must be impeccable. Data is the new language; it is the new oil. As a strategist, you should not shy from telling your story. The purpose of a user story is to articulate how a piece of work will deliver a particular value back to the customer. A strategist is a piece of work; they work round the clock to give value back to their organisations. What's your story?