One thing I know for sure; there’s unlimited opportunity in the workplace right now, provided you have the right Strategy.
Basically, you can have no strategy, you can have the wrong strategy or you can have the right strategy. It’s unlikely two out of those three will lead you to any of that unlimited opportunity; so proceed with caution!
There is however, a fourth option, one I learned from George Washington.
In August of 1776 Big George and the entire Continental army were about to suffer complete annihilation at the hands of the British in what has come to be known as The Battle of Long Island. Big George and the team were hopelessly cornered and outnumbered. At that exact moment, he had no strategy. If we look historically, the strategic approach (often looked upon as best practice under these circumstances) is stay and fight. Stay and fight with honor and to the death. Two examples that come to mind here are Custer’s last stand and the Alamo.
One can only imagine what was going through his mind that memorable night. How did he not take the predictable approach and just stay and fight? Especially since he would die a hero. How did he get out of this one? What was it that made George Washington realize that to stay and fight in that moment, although heroic, was not the right way to proceed?
He was aligned in motive with his countrymen. This cause, this war, was not about him. This was about raising a Nation. He knew the people present and future of this yet unfounded Nation could care less about him being a hero. They wanted to become a Nation! Imagine being the one chosen to lead this (against all odds) challenge! Wouldn’t you love to interview him today?
There was too much at stake here for his ego, his fear or even a poor strategic choice, to get in the way.
What George Washington accomplished in The Battle of Long Island is almost impossible to comprehend. This was truly a miracle. I speak about this often and every single time I’m awestruck to the point of tears.
I’m speculating here but here’s how big George went internal and self-assessed that specific situation in the battle of Long Island in August of 1776:
“OK now what?”
“I have no strategic options. None. Zero. We’re about to be slaughtered.”
“This is bullshit! This War can’t end today! We’re not ready to end it!”
“I need the right strategy to lead but I have no clue what that is!”
This is when Big George (with some help from the Universe) came up with the fourth strategy; the interim strategy; do whatever you can to stay alive until a strategy develops.
George Washington decided to sneak his entire Army out of the area during the night with the sole purpose to preserve their lives and get to fight another day. They quietly got in their boats and floated down river in the dark of night.
Meanwhile the British soldiers were sleeping in preparation of the mornings’ anticipated war-ending victory.
Only to wake up to; “Let me get this straight; there’s no fight today? He escaped? He escaped with his entire Army? While we were sleeping?”
“Yup; that’s what I’m saying sir”
Any strategy is better than no strategy. However, sometimes (especially in high risk situations) the strategy can be circle, observe and do whatever you need to do in the interim until a strategy develops.
Strategies have no templates, you must dig deep and develop one on your own. One way is to list what’s working, what’s not working and what needs to change. Start from there.
There’s unlimited opportunity out there right now, provided you have the right Strategy. Make a list of what’s working, what’s not working, what needs to change and then start developing one. If you can’t, figure out what you need to do in the interim to remain hopeful until one develops.
Your future depends on your Strategic approach.
Of course the right strategy did in fact develop for George Washington to lead this (against all odds) challenge and raise this great Nation. If it wasn’t for that fourth strategic option invoked during The Battle of Long Island; well – lets not go there!
Charlie Lobosco is a Shared Leadership Expert, Agile Transformation Coach, Consultant and trainer.
For more on Charlie; click here!