Sun Tzu, the author of ‘Art of War’ wrote in his book “Strategy without tactics is the longest way to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat”. What a beautiful description of strategy and a powerful demonstration of its indispensability. Strategy is the manifestation of your goal, objectives, and purpose in whatever task you are doing. If you don’t have a goal, go out and get one. Without a goal or purpose there is no taste of success when you complete your task, or as Sun Tzu puts it, there is no victory.
One way of ensuring that you have a goal or a purpose for whatever you are doing, is to develop your strategic intuition. Much the same as you develop your ‘car driving intuition’ that helps you to hear music, answer the phone or carry out a challenging conversation with the passengers while you are driving your car at high speed and manoeuvring the traffic lights and busy intersections; it is imperative to develop your ‘strategic intuition’ to make sure that you carry out the tasks that will lead to the ‘victorious result’ you want. Strategic intuition is the skill that will let you ‘drive safely’ through the maze of life challenges to get to your destination.
What is strategic intuition? I like to describe it as the gut feel that lets you make the right decision at the right time. Haven’t you noticed that, when you wait for the lift in some buildings that have two or more lifts, you stand in the middle of the lift bay so that you have the shortest route to any lift when its doors are open? That is strategic intuition in its simplest form. On the other extreme, strategic intuition is the decision about the texture of white colour that Steve Jobs chose to his Apple devices.
So, how to develop strategic intuition? My answer is: the same way you developed your driving skills? Practice. You need to explicitly ask your self why you are doing whatever you are doing. If you can’t have a good and satisfying answer, don’t do it. When you make the effort to ‘train’ your thoughts and impulse actions to make a decision based on the purpose of each and every task, you will certainly develop the skill of intuitively making the right decision at the right time.
Whether at work or in your personal life, you should always know which way you are going. Otherwise you may end up like Alice in Wonderland when she got lost in the woods and asked the Rabbit which way to go. The Rabbit asked Alice: “Where do you want to go?” Alice said: “I don’t know”. The Rabbit said: “Then it doesn’t matter which way you go”.