Imagine that you and I were going to go to Rome.

We have two choices.

We could go to Rome tomorrow.

Or we could go to Rome on an agreed upon date in the future.

If we decided to go to Rome tomorrow, we’d have to do it in a certain way.

Unless we were starting in Venice, for example, we’d probably have to fly.

On the flipside, if we decided to go to Rome later, we would have more options.

We could take a boat, for example. We could hit Rotterdam first.

(We also wouldn’t get to go to Rome tomorrow. What we gain in increased options we lose in tomorrow’s pizza.)

The specifics of the objective (the date we want to be in Rome by) narrow down our possible strategies (fly or sail, Holland or not).

We talk a lot here about a set of tactics being useless before you’ve nailed down a strategy.

Putting lots of 7s in your blog post titles doesn’t help if you’re not really sure what you’re supposed to be blogging about.

I stand beside that.

But I’d like to add, for your consideration, a little codicil clause to my stance.

Yes, deciding on tactics before deciding strategy is stupid.

But deciding on a strategy before deciding on your objective is certifiable.

That’s straight jacket thinking.

I get asked a lot if X is a good idea, a good strategy, a good tactic.

It’s tough to answer because it’s not the real question.

The real question is, “Is X a good way for ME to get what I happen to want?”

Even if the question feels more specific, it’s often still too general.

“Is guest posting a good way to build an author platform?”

Well, it depends on what kind of books you’re writing.

Try it with the Rome example.

“Is sailing a good way to get to Rome?”

Well, it depends how fast you want to get there.

Deciding on the Way before deciding on the What causes a lot of pain and wasted time.

Some Ways are great, if they match well with your What.

You see some new strategy and think, well, lots of people are succeeding using that strategy.

Maybe you should consider it?

You see some new medium – or new-to-you medium – and see a lot of books being published and classes being offered in how to “dominate” it or “leverage” it or “work” it.

Maybe you should consider it?

Well, maybe you should.

But when considering a strategy – guest posting, Google AdWords, dominating FacePinTwitSter – the first question you have to ask yourself is this one:

Does this Way match my What?

We can see that this Way gets people places.

That’s good.

I like that in a Way.

But does it get YOU where you’re trying to go?


P.S. For further reading, we have a wonderful article on management by objectives. And Fruit Ninja. It’s one of my favorites.

Even if you’ve read it before, read it again. I stayed up all night writing it and then called my mother – at work! in England – to make her listen to me read it.

<< Go back to the Newsletter Archive