“If you don’t know where you’re going any road will do”
The Art of Personal Strategy
Hey there! Have you ever wondered how some people seem to navigate life’s complexities with grace and foresight? Well, the secret might lie in having a personal strategy. It’s not just some fancy business jargon but a practical, versatile tool for everyone.
Think of it as your very own GPS for life, guiding you through the winding roads and unexpected detours with confidence and clarity.
The Essence of Personal Strategy
A personal strategy isn’t just a to-do list or a set of New Year’s resolutions that fade by February.
It’s a comprehensive plan that aligns your deepest values, strengths, and goals with the reality of your everyday life. It’s about knowing where you want to go and having a realistic and flexible plan to get there.
Why Personal Strategy is a Game-Changer
Imagine sailing through life’s storms with a sturdy vessel under your feet.
That’s what a personal strategy offers. It equips you to make decisions that are not just reactive but proactive. It’s about being the author of your life story, not just a character swept along by the plot.
Adapting Business Strategy Frameworks for Personal Mastery
Here are three of my favourite Strategy Frameworks that I use in various business settings.
Each tool is designed to address different aspects of a problem.
A good general purpose framework is the tried and true SWOT analysis. This examines Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.
An external analysis framework that has emerged in recent years is PEST. Political factors, Economic factors, Social aspects and Technology.
A third tool I like is the McKinsey 7S. This assesses internal factors. They are Strategy, Structure, Systems. Shared values, Staff, Skills, and Style.
It’s not too big a leap for these business strategy frameworks to be adapted and used for developing personal strategies.
- SWOT Analysis – Your Personal Consultant: This is where you sit down with yourself and get brutally honest. What are you great at (Strengths)? Where could you use some work (Weaknesses)? What opportunities are knocking at your door? What threats should you be wary of? It’s like having a heart-to-heart with your most trusted advisor.
- PEST Analysis – Your Life Detective: This framework makes you an investigator in your own life. How do political upheavals affect your career path? What economic trends should you be aware of? Are social changes influencing your life choices? And how does technology play into all this? It’s about seeing your life in the context of the larger world around you.
- McKinsey 7S – Your Internal Symphony Conductor: Here, you’re orchestrating the various elements of your life to create a harmonious symphony. Are your personal goals (Strategy) in tune with your daily practices (Systems)? Do your relationships (Staff) reflect your core beliefs (Shared Values)? It’s about ensuring each part of your life plays the right note at the right time.
Historical Examples: Strategic Greats and Their Life Lessons
- Abraham Lincoln: The Strategy of Resilience- Lincoln’s life was a tapestry of triumphs and tribulations. His resilience in the face of personal and political challenges is legendary. He transformed his weaknesses into strengths, turned threats into opportunities, and ultimately changed the course of history. Lincoln’s journey is a powerful reminder that understanding and leveraging our personal SWOT can lead to extraordinary achievements.
- Marie Curie: Strategy in the Face of Adversity- Curie’s relentless pursuit of knowledge in a male-dominated field was nothing short of revolutionary. She navigated the social and technological landscape of her time with unwavering determination. Her life is a testament to how a deep understanding of the broader PEST factors can fuel breakthroughs, even in the most challenging circumstances.
- Nelson Mandela: The Strategy of Unification and Transformation – Mandela’s life is a profound study in the McKinsey 7S framework. His Strategy was the eradication of apartheid and the establishment of a democratic South Africa. His Style was characterized by forgiveness and reconciliation. Mandela’s Skills in leadership and negotiation, coupled with his Shared Values of equality and justice, were instrumental in transforming not just a political system but an entire nation’s psyche.
We have a strategic plan. It’s called ‘doing things’.
Crafting Your Personal Strategy
How can you take these historical insights and weave them into your life tapestry? Start by doing a SWOT analysis on yourself. Reflect on the PEST factors shaping your world. Align your personal 7S – from your ambitions to your daily routines. The goal is to create a strategy that is as unique and dynamic as you are.
Bringing It All Together: Living Strategically
Creating a personal strategy is not a one-time event; it’s an ongoing process of reflection, adjustment, and growth. It’s about being mindful of the lessons from the past while staying agile and adaptable for the future. It’s about embracing change, celebrating progress, and always striving for alignment between your inner world and the outer reality.
Your Year of Strategic Living
As we embark on this journey of strategic living, let’s draw inspiration from the greats, adapt their wisdom to our modern lives, and write our own stories with intention and insight. Remember, the best strategy is the one that resonates with your unique journey and helps you navigate the complexities of life with confidence and purpose. Here’s to a year of insightful planning, bold moves, and rewarding achievements!
Until next time.