Monday, August 16, 2010

The Only Thing That Matters Is Action

Benjamin Franklin, one of our greatest founding fathers said it best: never confuse motion with action! Probably means a lot of things to you, perhaps not, but to me the quote is undeniably clear. The most important trait is action. Over this weekend, a few friends of mine I greatly respect had a conversation about tactics vs. vision. As a matter of knowledgeshare, I thought I'd present my arguments on my blog to glean insight from any comments that arise.


To start, let's define vision, strategy and tactics. Vision: What you want the organization to be; your dream. Strategy: What you are going to do to achieve your vision. Tactics: How you will achieve your strategy and when. Anyone disagree here? Likely, you're in the same boat with me and my friends so far. But which one is MOST important to a start up? My argument? TACTICS! Without a firm reach into the tactical, what is a start up? Nothing but a bunch of people sitting around talking process or ideas; and Mr. Franklin had a quote for that too: he that speaks much, is much mistaken.

Without really knowing what the customer wants, what they will buy and having real people doing both then your company will go nowhere, and go there quickly. Put it this way, would you rather have generals talking about going up the hill, or soldiers telling you it can't be done because they are dying trying to? Who do you think will give you the real data? Gee, let me think... The tacticians, the soldiers. And this is my point. It takes tactical pursuit to know if your entire strategy/vision are worthy. You have to get out in the field and, as my friend and mentor Scott Capdevielle once told me, FAIL FAST, FAIL CHEAP! And the only way to get to this point is to engage in tactical execution as quickly as possible.

Now, I'm not suggesting that vision and strategy don't have a place. They do. However, I'd argue that millions of people have sat around talking ideas and process and have done nothing. And then I'd argue that there were kids playing around with circuit boards in their garage, being tactical, when they stumbled into a thing called a PC. Isn't that how evolution works? A chance occurrence, a mutation? As for me, I'm even more convinced than ever that tactics matter most. Getting things done is how you will succeed!  

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