On the path of winners
By Bayo Ogunmupe
Exert the force of strategic thinking
IN your pursuit of success in life through personal happiness, financial freedom and gaining the desires of your heart, you need to concentrate on winning. To achieve your aims, you have to go and actually accomplish your wishes in the open market. That is why the skills of simulating, relaxing and visualizing are so important. Thus, you have to concentrate and do what you want, monitor your performance with feedback before you reset your goals again. Perhaps, the best lesson to learn about concentrated action is to focus all your attention on the desired goal, and dismiss the penalties of failure. In order to retain your concentration you have to adopt strategic thinking for success.
When you hear of strategic thinking, what comes to mind is war. In fact the word strategy means: the science of planning and directing large scale military operations, especially in maneuvering armies into the most advantageous position prior to actual engagement – with the enemy. What differentiates tacts from strategy is that tactics are actions taken in battle, while strategies are plans prior to it. However, strategy isn’t restricted to neither military actions nor business. Strategic thinking can make a positive impact on any area of life. When failure isn’t an option, nothing serves you better than strategic thinking. This is achieved by planning your life and then living your plan. At least, you should plan your life once a week. Then, review your calendar for the week, check your appointments, review your goals and then get to work. This way, you will generally out achieve most of your daily planning colleagues.
Strategic thinking helps me to plan to become more efficient, to maximize my strengths and to find the most direct path towards the attainment of my objectives. Here are some of the reasons why you should adopt strategic thinking methods to achieve your goals in life. One, strategic thinking simplifies problems. It is planning ahead of problems. Strategic thinking takes complex issues and long-term objectives and breaks them down into manageable sizes. Everything becomes simple when it has a plan.
Two, strategic thinking enables you to ask the right questions. Three, premeditated strategy prompts you to customize your plans. World War II U.S. General George Patton observed: “successful commanders make plans to fit circumstances but they do not try to create circumstances to fit plans.” All strategists are precise in their thinking. They match strategy with the problem. Sloppy thinking is an enemy of achievement. Customizing your thinking with the problem forces you to go beyond vague ideas. Strategy sharpens your mind to engage the problem in specific ways.
Four, strategic thinking prepares you today for an uncertain future, strategic thinking is the bridge that links where you are to where you want to be. It gives direction and credibility to your success measures. It enables you to saddle your dreams before you ride them.
Five, strategic thinking reduces the margin of error in your plans. It lines up your actions with your objectives. The better aligned you are with your target, the better the odds that you will succeed.
Six, strategic thinking gives you influence with others. One company executive confided in another: “Our company has a short range plan and a long range plan. Our short range plan is to stay afloat long enough to make it to our long range plan.” But that’s no strategy. That’s the position most leaders put themselves, put their business or the nation. There are more than one problem with neglecting strategy in that way. Not only does it fail to build the business, state or nation, it also loses the respect of strategic thinkers.
Another salient example of muddled thinking is the result of the just concluded Ondo State gubernatorial election. One party thinks of regional integration, that’s strategic thinking. Those without strategy won. Of course, the victors cannot lead the people anywhere. They can only lead them to their Golgotha, for the Bible says “for lack of knowledge my people are destroyed” Hosea 4:6. The one with strategy is the one with the power.
Seven, in order to become a better strategic thinker, to be able to formulate and implement plans that achieve desired objectives, you must break down the issue, “yard by yard, life is hard, but inch by inch it is a cinch,” so says Robert Schuller, author of Tough Times never last Tough People do. The first step in strategic thinking is to break down an issue into smaller, more manageable units so that you can focus on them more effectively. You might break an issue by function. Just as automobile innovator Henry Ford did when he created the assembly line. That was why he said:” Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs.” You can also break things down according to time.
Eight, ask why before how the great American engineer Eugene Grace says: “Thousands of engineers can design bridges, calculate strains and stresses and draw up specifications, but the great engineer is the man who can tell whether the bridge should be built at all, where it should be built and when.” Asking why helps you fathom the right decision. It helps you to open your mind to possibilities and opportunities. If you jump to how so quickly, you might miss the reasons behind your decision. Nine, identify the real issues and objectives. Before a problem can be solved, it has to be clearly defined. We often rush to solutions, at the end we end up solving the wrong problem. Begin by asking what else could be the real issue? Discovering your real situation and objectives is the essence of the battle.
Ten, review your resources. A strategy that does not take into account resources is doomed to failure. Take an inventory of your time and the money you have. Eleven, develop your plan. When planning, start with the obvious. Put the right people in the right places, which makes placing your team a part of the strategy an important issue. Moreover, keep reviewing the process to avoid errors. Your will to win is worthless if you do not have the will for thorough preparation. Spend time with people whose wisdom and discernment you admire, who have a history of successful problem solving.
Our champion for today is Edward Prescott, the co recipient of the 2004 Nobel prize for Economics with Finn Kydland. Prescott was born in New York, United States to Mathilda Helwig Prescott and William Clyde Prescott. He received his bachelor’s degree in Mathematics form Swarthmore College in 1962, his master’s from Case Western Reserve University in Operations research in 1963 and his PhD in Economics at Carnegie Mellon University in 1967.
Form 1966 to 1871, Prescott taught at the University of Pennsylvania. Then, he returned to Carnegie Mellon until 1980, when he moved to the University of Minnesota where he taught till 2003. Since then, he has been teaching at Arizona State University. The Research papers in Economics ranked him the 18th most influential economist in the world as of August 2012, based on his academic contributions.
Currently working as an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis and as a professor at Arizona State University’s Carey school of Business, he is an authority in macroeconomics, especially in business cycles and general equilibrium. In their Nobel winning papers, published in 1977, Prescott analysed whether Central Banks should have strict numerical targets or be allowed to use their discretion in setting monetary policy. He is also well known for his work on the Prescott Filter, used to smooth fluctuations in a time series. Prescott has also expressed skepticism towards fractional central banking. His writings more recently have focused on the negative effect of taxes on the economy in Europe.