Friday, April 27, 2012

Quoted: Churchill on Strategy

“However beautiful your strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.” – Winston Churchill

Strategy is a means to an end.  However, a strategy without a clear vision for what the end game is can lead you to an endless path of doing things that give you no satisfaction. That would be like running in a race without ever knowing where the finish line is. It would be impossible to know if you were running at the correct pace. In your mind, you may think you are winning because you are running at a great pace for the 100-meter dash, except the race is 1 mile. Most likely, your strategy will not take you the distance.

To most, this may sound like common sense. Yet, everyday people take actions without knowing the final outcome they are seeking. As a rule, people ignore the importance of asking themselves what they and others involved want from a situation. People are eternally hopeful that chemistry will magically make it happen; the belief everyone should know.

So let’s get this straight. Strategy is a process for achieving the final result. If you do not look up to see where your strategy has gotten you, you may find yourself in a place of unhappiness. Even Charlie Sheen would know that’s not “winning.”

Get clear about the final outcome you are seeking first. Do so without imposing all the reasons it can’t happen. If the outcome you envision is a step to get you somewhere else, you still need to take steps to know the end game. Once you are clear about what you want, your strategy could change dramatically. Even if it doesn’t change, still look up to see where you are.   


  1. Context is key, Ted. All too often people forget to put things in perspective and spend a lot of time fiddling with unnecessary aesthetics when, in fact, the substance is lacking. I know it may sound cliche, but first things first. In keeping with your commentary, what's the point of having a beautiful strategy when winning the competition is based on spartan efficiency? However, this does NOT preclude one from being able to have a winning AND beautiful strategy. That's how gods are made.