The strategic mindset starts within the self. That is because you have to take over certain values in order to become a strategic leader. Sadly, we do not learn these values at a deep level in school. Some do, but most do not. Those that do not are left to their own devices to manage the challenges of life.
And those challenges present a second strategic dimension – the social dimension. To be successful in life, you need to “add value”. In the old days, this meant physical work. It took lots and lots of physical work to get anything done. As technology advanced, the need for physical input has decreased and the need for mental input has increased.
So we get the modern notion of work as the ability to add value via strategic decision making. Those who can “move the ball forward” succeed. And moving the ball forward means producing change within groups.
How do you do that? There is a huge amount of writing on the subject. Most of it is about how to build companies and institutions around missions. Greg Satell points out that this might be better understood using a model of producing social change – by looking at the history of successful social movements. He lists a few key ideas
- embracing a concrete objective rather than a broad abstract goal
- work the spectrum of allies – start by mobilizing strong allies, then move to passive allies, neutrals, passive opponents and finally strong opponents.
- find and leverage institutional power
- attract rather than coerce
- survive the immediate victory
It is a nice tactical tool box.