Strategy, Resilience, and Beware the Transactional

chess-strategyNew Orleans     You know how it is, every time you turn around you get advice, whether you want it or not!  Even running away from all this free advice, every once in a while you stumble onto something worth heeding, though admittedly you savor the advice closest to what you already believed.

Reading a somewhat repelling but fascinating profile in The New Yorker about the billionaire former Netscape techie and now venture capitalist, Marc Andreesen, he quoted invaluable advice from Michael Ovitz of all people, the big-time Hollywood talent agent, that seemed spot on:

Take the long view of your platform [read organization], rather than a transactional one.  Call everyone a partner [or colleague and comrade], offer services the others don’t, and help people who aren’t your clients.  Disrupt to differentiate by becoming a dream-execution machine.

What is building power for low and moderate income people other than visionary and a “dream-execution machine,” I might add.

And, then there were a handful of mismatched people offering advice on strategy in the Wall Street Journal, which I first ignored, but then found on my desk for required re-reading by some intrusively helpful soul.

The head of Epic Records and producer for Rihanna, says:“Strategy is first and foremost about the endgame.”  Well, true that.  The popular historian, Doris Kearns Goodwin, says “With strategy, the key thing is the ability to diagnose the opportunity of the time.”  Her point there also seems amazingly astute.

Interestingly at least to me, so much of the mega-domes advice seem about strategy seemed to focus on resilience.

A board game developer argued, “Life becomes vivid because unforeseeable events, good or bad, upset our plans, and we must adjust our strategies to new situations.” Goodwin argued that the success of both presidents Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln argues that “…it’s not only the opportunity that provides something for the man, it’s whether the man is able to adapt and diagnose what needs to be done, and then that becomes the strategy.”

Even super restaurateur, Danny Meyer, makes that case, “…we teach the motto of ‘constant, gentle pressure’ to master a world in which there are unexpected and sometimes very challenging variables tossed your way.  It’s a technique for not getting knocked off your surfboard by the waves that are inevitably going to sneak up behind you.”

You know the saying, its all “free advice,” and that’s about what it’s worth perhaps, but what the heck sometimes if it helps reinforce your path down the road and lets you and others realize their dreams, then it’s worth its weight in gold, no matter where it came from.

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The Redskins – Keep on Keepin’ On

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