Planning, is taking a series or sequence of events and putting them out onto a time line. This is what most financial planners do or planners in general. They pick a date and put together specific steps to accomplish the stated goal. This is a plan or planning for a goal. This is a great tool and is extremely important to do.
A Strategist is someone who looks at a bigger picture and details out different concepts or ideas to accomplish the plan. These are specific and detailed, and go beyond saying you need to save XYZ or buy product ABC. While they may include that, those specifics are more steps in a plan to accomplish that plan, the strategies are broader and higher level. Looking at different variables to intertwine specific obstacles and advantages. The strategies are what lead to the plan. Which is why I work a lot with financial planners. I come up with the general and specific strategies they come up with the more specific product recommendations.
When looking at creating strategies you need to first look at decision making and the steps to it. In a recent Harvard Business Review Article they talked about the 4 types of a decision. In What makes Strategic Decisions Different by Phil Rosenzweig (Harvard Business Review, 2013 page 89) he mentions these types of decisions are:
1. Making Judgments and Choices
2. Influencing Outcomes
3. Placing Competitive Bets
4. Managing for Strategic Success
Understanding these different parts of a decision are important. To be strategic you need to understand why you are making a decision and how the choices you make affect you. I have a really close friend who has three children. Watching them grow up has been a lesson in strategic decision making. Most people make decisions based on what they see in front of them, however strategic decisions are taking into account what might and might not happen in the long run. I was talking to one of them the other day and they were upset that they wouldn’t be able to play basketball because their grades are slipping. In a fit of rage they said well I can’t play an instrument either then if I can’t play basketball. SO the parents made a strategic decision, based on the child’s emotional outburst. They said fine, you’ll do nothing but study till your grades get back up. Now the child thought this was a good move until he sees it in reality because he was trying to influence the outcome of not playing this instrument which he doesn’t like. His parents made a strategic decision by taking away his freedom to better help him in the long run with all of his future by focusing on education. In a strategic decision you way multiple factors and thoughts and try to find a way to minimize impact of that decision through apply the right strategies and eventually the right plan. In my example the strategy was to show the child how decisions have consequences. The plan to carry this out will be 8 hour study days on weekends, no computer access, no book access unless for school and so forth. It will be like a gulag for a while but decisions have consequences and without a proper strategy those consequences can be huge.
Rodney Mogen, is the president of solveurpuzzles, a business focused company. Solve ur puzzles helps three groups: Small Businesses, Financial Advisors/Agents (fixed business only), and Local Government Entities. Rodney is also a small business coach focused on developing strategies for small business owners and helping them develop their own strategy and ideas to grow, sell, develop the way they want. He is focused on creating proper strategies for Advisors and business owners to assist them in their day to day duties by solving their puzzles.