I am working on a proposal for a client. The request from the client included what they called a mission. The mission was clearly worded, but vague. Let's take a look!
A very tactical set of steps. Do this, then this, then this, finally do that.
Stop. Think. After reading their request three times, the last time out loud, I asked these questions:
I could have gone on. I did not need to. Those six questions proved sufficient to open up the discussion. With those six questions we started to discuss the strategic goals they wanted to achieve.
My response to the request was a strategic effort to help define why the client wanted us to do something. Asking the questions was tactical, as were the questions themselves. The purpose of the questions was to clarify why they wanted me to do the project.
You could argue that the client's mission was clear enough. To me, the mission was vague. I knew that without knowing how the client wanted to measure success, what they thought was wrong, what was outside their sphere of control, and what they were unwilling to do, I could be walking into quicksand, and taking the client with me.
Watch Eli Goldratt's video below on strategy and tactics. It is one of the best discussions about the difference I have heard in a long time.
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