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Strategy is not the Same as Goal Setting

Peter Winick here with Thought Leadership Leverage. One of the key outcomes of developing a viable strategy is defining your goals.
Without having clearly defined goals and carefully chosen tactics that support those goals, you can’t gauge your progress or make adjustments to your strategic plan.

That being said, I’ve seen too many people confuse strategy with goal setting. They are not the same thing and it’s important to understand the difference between the two.

Strategy is an exercise in problem solving. While the problem may be as varied as the development of your platform, the launching of your book, the way you will gain market share, or the way you will differentiate yourself and your content in the market place — a well thought out strategy focuses on solving these problems.

Goals that support the strategy are crucial, but goals don’t solve problems. Goals are a measure of progress. Goals support your strategy.

When a potential client tells me their current strategy, I often hear a list of activities, a description of various tactics, and a summary of how they are progressing against their goals. I follow up by asking,
“What problems in the marketplace are you and your work uniquely qualified to solve and why?” Then I ask what the strategy is again, and if it can’t be articulated clearly and concisely then we both quickly realize that there isn’t one in place.

Activity is motion, not strategy.

For example, if the problem is getting the body of work out to a broader audience, several strategies can be designed depending on the strengths of that thought leader and their organization.
They may choose to license their content to others, build a training company, consulting firm, or a tools-based company; or they may choose to partner with other authors and organizations.

For each of these strategies a set of specific goals can and should be created to measure the progress and make the necessary tweaks, but the strategy of partnering or licensing is a way to solve the problem of getting the work out to a broader audience.
The goal of researching a list of potential partners is just one of many tasks that need to be accomplished and support the strategy.

So, what’s the point? Fair question.

The point is to have a strategy that has the best chance of solving your specific problem, have goals that are aligned to it, and to not confuse the very different purposes of the two.

What are some of your goals? Share with us in the comments below and be sure to hit subscribe for more great content. Thanks.

Peter Winick has deep expertise in helping those with deep expertise. He is the CEO of Thought Leadership Leverage. Visit Peter on Twitter!

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