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7 Bad Habits of Insanely Effective Strategy Planners

        posted by , December 05, 2012

The great strategists of history had plenty of bad habits. They had inconsistencies and they had guts. Some even had vices.

Leaders such as Napoleon and Churchill whose strategic victories are legendary — had similar habits. These bad habits will make you a better strategist:

1. Change your mind

Great strategists view planning as a process of preparation. They don't write plans in stone.

Leaders who frequently change plans aren't popular. People tend to prefer leaders who are consistent, predicable and constant. The social dynamics of leadership calls for leaders who set 5 year plans and stick to them.

The great strategists of history had no time for such static thinking. Plans were born to be changed.

It is a mistake to try to look too far ahead. The chain of destiny can only be grasped one link at a time.
~ Sir Winston Churchill

In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.
~ Dwight D. Eisenhower

You have to be fast on your feet and adaptive or else a strategy is useless.
~ Charles de Gaulle

Do not repeat the tactics which have gained you one victory, but let your methods be regulated by the infinite variety of circumstances
~ Sun Tzu

Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.
~ Steve Jobs

2. Look beyond data

Effective strategists will tell you that data isn't everything. The problem with data is that it doesn't have an imagination.

If the facts don't fit the theory, change the facts.
~ Albert Einstein

I have always found that if I move with seventy-five percent or more of the facts that I usually never regret it. It's the guys who wait to have everything perfect that drive you crazy.
~ Lee Iacocca

Experts often possess more data than judgment.
~ Colin Powell

None. It’s not the consumers’ job to know what they want.
~ Steve Jobs, When asked what market research went into iPad.

I never get the accountants in before I start up a business. It's done on gut feeling.
~ Richard Branson

3. Focus on one question: why?

Technicians are obsessed with how. Planners are obsessed with who, when and where.

Great strategists are most obsessed with why.

There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why... I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?
~ Robert Kennedy

Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.
~ George S. Patton

A politician needs the ability to foretell what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month, and next year. And to have the ability afterwards to explain why it didn't happen.
~ Winston Churchill

She laughs at everything you say. Why? Because she has fine teeth.
~ Benjamin Franklin

There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.
~ Peter Drucker

4. Be annoyingly persistent

Great strategists were persistent in the face of challenges and failure. They were able to stick to strategies through lost battles. For example, Steve Jobs had a strategy for a device resembling the iPad in 1983 (27 years before iPad launched).

Strategy is really simple. What we want to do is we want to put an incredibly great computer in a book that you can carry around with you and learn how to use in 20 minutes ... And we really want to do it with a radio link in it so you don’t have to hook up to anything and you’re in communication with all of these larger databases and other computers.
~ Steve Jobs, 1983

Continuous effort, not strength or intelligence, is the key to unlocking our potential.
~ Winston Churchill

Energy and persistence conquer all things
~ Benjamin Franklin

5. Be a rebel

All great strategists have a rebellious nature.

It's better to be a pirate than to join the Navy.
~ Steve Jobs

If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking.
~ George S. Patton

It is better to be alone than in bad company.
~ George Washington

6. Be secretive

The secret to strategy is to keep it a secret. A strategy can be used to energize your organization. However, it often makes sense to hold something back.

Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.
~ Napoleon Bonaparte

The secret of business is to know something that nobody else knows.
~ Aristotle Onassis

7. Be audacious

The worst habit of them all.

Circumstances-what are circumstances? I make circumstances.
~ Napoleon Bonaparte

It's not enough that we do our best; sometimes we have to do what's required.
~ Winston Churchill

I am looking for a lot of men who have an infinite capacity to not know what can't be done.
~ Henry Ford

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