Many people confuse strategy and tactics. The simple difference is that formulating strategy is about what you want to do, your goal, and tactics are about how you plan to go about doing it, the actual operations and processes. A great strategy is useless if you cannot implement it, and great tactics are useless if you don't have an application for them - and great tactics for implementing one strategy might be very poor for another.

When business people talk about a business model, what they think they are referring to is their strategy, but they are actually talking about tactics. This is probably because, whether they admitted it to themselves or not the strategy was to cash out in an IPO rather than to build real value for the long term, but you can't admit that to gullible investors. Skipping strategy leads to a Pyrrhic victory at best. Also see the Innovator's dilemma.

The third branch of both business and war is logistics. If there is a fourth, it is communications. Unless you can get these four into coherence, whether you are a general or a CEO, you will get your ass handed to you on a plate.

In psychology, a strategy is the term for how we do something. An understanding of strategies is fundamental and crucial to NLP. All the time we are running strategies when we do anything; another name for a strategy is a behaviour.

Understanding and eliciting others strategies has many important applications: in business, especially in sales, dating, in therapy to understand and help the client understand their behaviour, and in modelling - choosing to run somebody else's strategy.

Underpinning the concept of strategies is the Test Operate Test Exit model, the first Test concerns when the strategy starts to run: "How do you know when it is time to do X?". Operating the strategy consists of looping over a series of steps followed by a comparison which is the second test, to determine whether the strategy is complete and it's time to exit.

Key to understanding strategies is the list of representational systems involved: Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic, Olfactory, Gustatory and Auditory Digital (how we talk to ourselves). The notation for this is the initial letter of the RS, which may be suffixed with superscript "i" or "e" meaning internal or external (is the client actually remembering the car they have (external), or are they imagining one (internal)?) Auditory is suffixed with subscript "t" (tonal) or "d" (digital) - an important distinction between sounds and words the client actually hears or imagines, and words the client says to themselves.

Strategy elicitation

There's a formal way and an informal way of elicitation. The informal way is just to ask "How do you do X?" The text for a formal elicitation is as follows:

  1. Can you think of a time when you were totally X'd?

  2. Can you recall a specific time?

  3. As you go back to that time now...

  4. What was the very first thing that caused you to be totally X'd?

    • Was it something you saw (or the way someone looked at you?)

    • Was it something you heard (or someone's tone of voice?)

    • Was it the touch of someone or something?

  5. After you (saw, heard, felt) that, what was the very next thing that happened as you were X'd?

    Did you picture something in your mind? Say something to yourself or hear something? Have a certain feeling or emotion?

    What was the next thing that happened as you were totally X'd? After you ... did you know that you were totally X'd or...

    Repeat step until complete

Demonstration

Ok, Fred, you got a moment? How are you doing? Can you think of a time when you were particularly motivated?

"Yes."

Can you recall a time when you were totally motivated?

Thinks... "Yes."

Can you recall a specific time?

(nods)

As you go back to that time now...

What was the very first thing that happened that caused you to be totally motivated? (without pausing) Was it something you saw or the way someone looked at you? Was it something you heard or someone's tone of voice? Or was it the touch of someone or something? What is the first thing that caused you to be totally motivated?

"It was something I saw."

Good. After you saw what you saw, what was the very next thing that happened as you were totally motivated? Did you picture something in your mind? Did you say something to yourself or have a certain feeling or emotion? What was the next thing that happened as you were totally motivated?

"I made a picture in my mind."

Great. After you made a picture in your mind, did you know that you were totally motivated or did you say something to yourself, or have a certain feeling or emotion?

"I said something to myself."

Good. After you said something to yourself, did you know that you were totally motivated or did you say something to yourself, or have a certain feeling or emotion?

"No, I was just motivated, that's all."

So you felt motivated?

"Yes, that's right."

Now, we know Fred's strategy:

Ve->Vi->Ad->M

A skilled practitioner can use sensory acuity to pick up additional information to the words about the strategy. Eye accessing patterns give useful indications of which representational systems are being accessed, and whether the RS is being imagined (internal) or remembered (external).

Strat"e*gy (?), n. [Gr. : cf. F. strat'egie. See Stratagem.]

1.

The science of military command, or the science of projecting campaigns and directing great military movements; generalship.

2.

The use of stratagem or artifice.

<-- 3. a plan of action encompassing the methods to be adopted from beginning to end of a task or endeavor, focussing on the general methods; -- contrasted with tactics, which is a plan for accomplishing subgoals of lesser extent than the primary goal. Thus, a strategy is a plan for winning a war, and a tactic is a plan for winning a battle. 4. Biol. A behavior evolved and exhibited by a living organism to accomplish some important goal, as a foraging strategy. -->

 

© Webster 1913.

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