Mark Blasini


Strategic vs. tactical


Most people's approach to life is tactical. They are results-oriented, they want to learn the techniques, they want to know the routines and exact prescriptions from experts.

The problem with being tactical is that it lacks a complete context for the future.†Why†should I learn this?†Why†should I reach 'x' result?†Why†should I follow what this guy, who is at a completely different level from me? The tactical approach is about the present.

The other issue is that there is†always†more you can do. There's always a bigger, better result to achieve. There's always better tactics to learn. You can always be more efficient.

Being strategic, on the other hand, is not about doing more, but less. Very specifically, it asks two practically equivalent questions:

  1. How can I do less to achieve more?†In other words, how can I use the least amount of expense to achieve the greatest amount of effect?
  2. How can I use my strengths to exploit weak points (opportunities) in this situation?

Ask yourself these two questions consistently and rigorously to your situation, and you'll start seeing incredible results. What's better, it won't require incredible effort, time, or money.

Take, for example, Tim Ferriss' approach to email. The tactical approach is to learn new techniques for getting to Inbox Zero, for responding to email, for organizing email.

The strategic approach, however, is simply to set people's expectations about your ability to respond. Set up an autoresponder that tells people†when†you'll be checking email (11am and 4pm), and delay your responses to people so they know you won't respond to them right away.

What will end up happening, then, is that people will email you less, because they know your ability to respond is limited. Then you can†can stop wasting time answering their emails on their time.