Saturday, November 22, 2014

business speak

I have a job at a large corporation. We do Business at my job. It's important that everyone in Business understands what Business is and why Business happens. The cause/effect of getting everyone to agree with each other on Business and move forward is called Leadership.

Leadership has its own language. i don't know how well this language varies from business spheres to activist spheres to political spheres. With that in mind, I'm not super interested in telling people what to do or how to do it. I am interested in sharing what I have learned about Leadership and organization.

Here is how I have been structuring my thoughts lately:

What is my Goal?

What Strategy will I use to achieve my goal?

What Tactics will I use when enacting my strategy?

This isn't uncommon, Business-wise. Some people append stuff like "VISION" and "MISSION" to the front, but I don't find that useful given my rank and what I can affect in my daily life.
Many times, you will come in conflict with people. When you are in conflict, it is useful to understand where the conflict lies. To pinpoint where your conflict lies, it's important to be specific about each of these stages:

A "goal" is a specific statement about the end result of what you want to achieve.  "I want peace between humans and mutants so mutants can live without fear" is a goal. Different people and organizations have different goals. Sometimes those goals go hand in hand. If my goal is "I want to stop global warming" and your goal is "I want to preserve animal species", we are not necessarily in conflict and we may share strategies and tactics. If my goal is "I want to stop global warming" and your goal is "I want to get as rich as possible in the next 20 years", we are probably in a state of significant and irreparable conflict. Ideally, goals are specific, measurable and attainable so you can come back after a time and have a solid idea if you succeeded or not.

The "strategy" is your plan for achieving that goal.  Many times, people who have compatible goals will have differing strategies. Scott Summers and Wolverine both want peace between humans and mutants, but Scott's strategy is to engage in guerilla warfare against the enemies of mutants, while Wolverine wants to create a safe space for young mutants to come into their own so they can control their powers without harming innocent bystanders. If we both want to stop global warming, my strategy might be to appeal to lawmakers to change laws, while your strategy might be to raise public awareness and have the public on your side. Disagreements about strategy usually focus on the most effective way to achieve a goal. As such, they are not always irreparable, but you will usually find a conflict where some people believe a strategy is effective and safe, where others think it is ineffective, or poses an unacceptable risk. This disagreement is often the cause of a fracture within a group, where opinions on different strategies are so polarized that the common goal they seek to achieve is no longer enough to unite people.

"Tactics" is how you implement your strategy. Scott enacts guerrilla warfare by using psychic locators of new mutants, teleporting mutants to get in and out quickly without getting tracked, and targeting Sentinels to strike back at anti-mutant forces. Global warming activists pursuing legal paths might write congressional representatives, bribeI mean, fundraise for lawmakers, and focus heavily on lobbying. Tactics to raise public awareness might use splashy demonstrations like flinging non-renewable energy at top executives, public demonstrations, or hanging banners off bridges. For the most part, if you agree on goals and strategy, any difference of opinion about tactics can just be added into the playbook. If I want to pass out fliers, and you want to put up newspaper ads, you can do both without conflict.