I believe there are only a few reasons why folks would want to use the word “strategy” in their conversations:
- To impress
- For the money (during interviews, networking or negotiation session)
- To brainstorm tactics
I’ve rarely seen people actually doing strategy. Most of the time they’re basically thinking through the situation for possible resolutions. Now in layman’s terms, that’s called planning. Confusing planning and strategy isn’t wise and shouldn’t be used interchangeably.
This brings me back to the points above — most people actually want to impress and throw their weight around (metaphorically speaking). The quickest way in this day and age is to talk about “strategy.” In fact, some just love to position themselves as a “strategist” of something or the other.
Unfortunately, being a strategist has become a smart career move of sorts since companies end up hiring these strategists hoping they would ideate or create frameworks from the ground up. Instead, they end up with folks who’re good with planning but lack the skills to execute because their planning was superficial, to begin with!
Also, being the “strategy” buys one an excuse to keep away from the mess. (Because you don’t want to work or are lazy?) But genuine strategists love to get their hands dirty. They don’t run away from mess but go deep into it.
Here’s what being a strategist really means — someone who can get to the root of the challenge(s) and then ideate a framework/system that not only resolves the underlying issue but also establish a solid foundation for success in future. I know that’s a mouthful but it is what it is.
So, unless you don’t have the knowledge, skills, and attitude to get your hands dirty (as in deep, deep, deep mess) while building a foolproof system that runs by itself once set up, stop calling yourself a strategist. And that’s okay — not everyone can or has to be one. Our time needs more doers than thinkers.