Strategic First Steps

To start off 2015, I thought I would offer a short series to help folks get oriented to strategic thinking and learning. This is not a full blown course, but think of it as an “amuse bouche” – a series of bite sized morsels that stimulate the appetite.

So where to start? I think the best starting point is to take a peek at non-strategic thinking. To do that, allow me to ask you a question. “How certain are you of your future?”

Most of us would like to be certain that we will find success. All things being equal, finding success without serious effort trumps taking a more risky path that could lead to disaster.

Is this appropriate? It may be. But one might wonder if it should be the default strategic approach to life. It is easy to forget that when we think this way we confirm an aversion to risk. In other words, getting the reward for winning is preferable to playing the game. Are risks so dangerous that we should automatically reject them? Do we even see risks as they are versus how we are taught to see them?

These are provocative questions. And as you consider them, you might also consider this. Studies show that people who have not directly experienced risks tend to exaggerate them.

In my experience, folks who make strategic blunders in life often fear risk more than they see possible gain. This is compounded by an exaggerated fear of risks that naturally grows when we think defensively. And this is a model of the non-strategic thinker.

Let’s stop there. After all, this is just an amuse bouche! But you might wonder, can one get better at seeing risks and rewards? That is next!

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