Strategic or Tactical

Great leaders are always working on strategy, but concurrently managing the tactical actions aligned to their strategy. It is a delicate balance. Too far in one direction or the other and you can find yourself off course.

One approach that has served me well is knowing the difference in each conversation. In fact, I think it is best accomplished if you can separate the two into separate conversations.

You can approach one of your employees or team members and let them know you want to talk strategy. Or you can let them know you need to review tactics, and then proceed to be very clear on actions and expectations.

If you are forced to speak to both in a single conversation, preface your comments to identify your thoughts. You could say, “strategically thinking…” or “tactically, we need to…”

Sometimes team members can be confused if we expect action but talk strategy. They may not feel empowered, or strategic concepts may not have the clarity they expect. If they cannot tell the difference, the team will struggle.

How do you balance strategy and tactics in your conversations? Is it clear to your team members which is which? Are expectations clearly defined?

Growing Your Integrity

Integrity is defined as the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles. Integrity is reflected in the alignment of actions, words, and thoughts. Everyone including those with strong integrity struggles with this alignment. If you decide to be a person of integrity, nothing changes unless you can live those ideals.

We encounter the conflict and challenges to our integrity throughout our life. Partly because life is full of decisions, and we do not know the outcome of making choices until they are made. And, of course, we all make mistakes.

We may consider George Washington, William Wilberforce  or Mother Teresa as people with integrity, but they still faced difficult decisions and failures as often as you or I. It is certain that viewed their own integrity differently than the rest of the world viewed it. We cannot know the depth of the internal struggles they faced.

It is exactly for this reason that regardless of how others perceive our integrity, we must always be working to improve it. We should always check our alignment between our thoughts, our words, and our actions. We should always be grounded in our values. It is not something you can do just five days a week, or only on the weekend. It is a full time commitment.

I find that as I have aged, living with integrity has become easier. No longer am I as easily swayed by the activities around me. I am much stronger in knowing my values, and I am not afraid to live them. I know I am strongest when I am who I am, no matter where I am, or who I am with.

We all must continuously guard and grow our integrity. If not, we risk losing it.

Learning the Tools of Our Trade

Recently a friend of mine was worried that he was not going to meet  important project requirements for his job. I helped him break down major tasks and had him define how much time each task needed. Our discussion took less than ten minutes. Afterwards, he was relieved that accomplishing the project on time seemed very achievable.

Then I suggested that he add the defined tasks to his schedule so he could make sure he allocated the time needed. Because for many people there is a  gap between knowing what to do, and taking the time to do it.

He responded, “I don’t use a calendar to schedule my day! It takes too much time. I need to be flexible to work on whatever is most important at the moment.” It became evident why this important project with a fixed deadline caused my friend anxiety.

Last week, I was ill. I had caught a summer cold that took me out of commission for a couple of days. I needed to revise my work calendar. But because I had a plan, I knew what actions could be delayed and what needed to be done as scheduled. When a deadline can’t be moved, I like the necessary actions to be in my schedule.

I find it interesting that some people view a schedule as being too restrictive, and other people view a schedule as necessary to enable flexibility. The schedule is not the difference, it is how we use it.

Isn’t this true of all tools? A tool is only as good as our ability to use it!

Time Is Money

Time is money. You can spend it. You can invest it. You cannot put time in a bank, even though it has value.

When I was very young, time did not seem to have much value. I felt time was plentiful. But the older you grow the more valuable time becomes. As we age, we make our time more useful and more treasured.

We make our time worth more by investing it in activities that make us more valuable. Isn’t that the fundamental premise for personal growth? If we grow ourselves, then our time will become more valuable. It only makes sense that we spend some time each day investing in ourselves.

Here are questions to ponder. What are you doing to make your time become more valuable? What would you like to do to make it more valuable?