Friday, December 14, 2012

Simplifying – Why It Doesn’t Work

Simplifying – Why It Doesn’t Work?

         You have probably heard the term “KISS”, Keep It Simple Stupid. There are a number of reasons why you shouldn’t simplify. For the most part, let me just go on a rant here, who came up with that? Everyone uses this term as if it is a plausible one size fits all solution to everything it is you are doing coming from someone who does not know your goals or objective. For as long as I have been alive everyone has always told me “Keep It Simple Stupid”, really? There are two sides to every story, if there is a simple side to things, then what about the more complex side of things? Simply put, not everything is going to be solved with a simple solution. I feel that making things simple has not gotten us anywhere. Trying to pigeon hole a horse into a knot hole of a tree just doesn’t work. Now I am not saying to make things so complex you loose yourself in the workings of your design, but please don’t dumb down your design for the sake of simplicity. Saying things are simple means they lack sophistication and that things need to be simpler because you just couldn’t understand the complexity of the situation. I for one am not a person that can only understand the simple things and I do not imagine that you could only understand the simple things either. Whoever coined the phrase “Keep It Simple Stupid” was probably a person who had no faith in human kind whatsoever. Like I said, “not everything is as simple as they try to make it out to be. I also feel those that say “Keep It Simple Stupid” have not given any thought at all to what is really going on. Why should we as Americans have to put up with the notion that we are incapable of complex thought and that the mere sight of something complex should repulse us? We are given a brain for a reason, if you want to outthink your opponent, then you better start thinking a little more complex, because 9 times out of 10, your opponent is going to be thinking simpler than you because this phenomena is so integrated into our society that anyone who does not think strategically will be trying to do things in the simplest fashion they can think of, leaving themselves open to being figured out as they are not doing much because “ITS SIMPLE”.

The Basics: Time Duration



            On my continuation of the basics of strategy, another part in the grand scheme of things is the Time Factor.
           What does time have to do with a good strategy? Well, if you think about it, time has a lot to contribute to a well developed strategy. I like to think of time in the aspect of duration. Duration meaning how long will something be done in your overall strategy. Now that can be taken in to account for 5 seconds, 5 hours, 5 days, or 5 years. When you implement, you have to decide how long will you keep committed to a strategy before you decide to toss it out. I highly recommend that you keep to a strategy for a longer period of time then you would initially decide to do it for. The reasons being it is really difficult to design a strategy when you are tossing it out for another strategy all the time. For one, you have not given the idea long enough time to be tested and to have all the bugs worked out of it. I use to play a game called “Magic The Gathering” and it was a card game where you had to make a “deck” with spells and creatures in it to defeat your opponent with. My friends and I coined the term “tweaking your deck” meaning when you create your deck you have to play with that deck for many games to work out the usefulness of that deck and to fix minor errors of the functionality of your deck as most of the major problems of design of the function of your deck was worked out in the initial stages of designing it.  If you are constantly changing strategies for something else I guarantee you will succumb to the strategy of someone who has tested their strategy, developed it, and are masters of executing their strategy as you will have a design that is green and you will be more likely to abandon your strategy at the first sign of seeing your design fail.
        Overall, it is best to develop your strategies to your own unique style of doing things. This will not only make it more fun for you but will allow you to customize your design to the standards that are unique to yourself, your environment, and to your situation. Keep to your guns, rather then develop the habit of coming up with strategy after strategy and seeing nothing work. Do the work in advance so when the proverbial shit hits the fan you will not only have a rain suit on you will have a shower nearby to wash the mess of with while everyone else will be staring at the fan not knowing what to do.  

Monday, June 18, 2012

Inventory of the Parts

        
        To do a comprehensive assessment of your unit I recommend doing three things: take an inventory of the parts, with your inventory list made pair each part with another part and see how each part interacts with each other, and defined the goal of the unit and see what each part needs or doesn’t need to do in order to get the goal accomplished.
         First, I recommend taking an inventory of the parts of the unit.  This can be done by a simply listing some or all of the different parts of the whole. For example, I will use the whole: being a football team and the parts: the individual positions of the players. Using this example, we can list some of the positions of a football team has, which includes: quarterback, wide receiver, kicker and cheerleader.  You’ll see why I included cheerleaders into the mix later on. With the list made the next step would be to define what each position does. You don’t just have to use people and their positions, you can also use part of a machine, device, anything that has different working parts. To define what each position does simply do some research on it, or if it is a team, or device you’re familiar with just go by each part and give a brief description of what each part does or is used for. You can go into as much detail as you would like, but for the sake of time I will write some brief descriptions of the parts I used in the example.  I got the descriptions off of livestrong.com
      
      Quarterback: the quarterback is the backbone of the offense. His job is typically to receive the ball after it is hiked and initiate the offensive play.  He does this by either handing the ball off to the running back or passing the ball to wide receiver, tight end or eligible receiver. On some plays, the quarterback also might opt to run with the ball. 

     Wide receiver: the wide receiver’s main job is to shake off his defender, and get open for a pass from the quarterback. Wide receivers open up the field on running plays by getting their defensive opponent downfield so the running back as a clear path. 

     Kickers: kickers are responsible for kicking field goals when the team is in a range, as well as kicking extra points after touchdowns. They also kick the ball off to start the game or the second half, and after the team scores. 

     Cheerleader: (according to jobdescriptions.com) NFL cheerleaders are a group of girls were members of a professional NFL cheerleading league. They lead the crowd to create a happy and cheerful atmosphere of the football game. Their job consists of a time for practice, of dance routines, and stunts, training camps, games, photo shoots, appearances, and charity events. 

     Again a brief description or a more detailed description will suffice.  It’s your decision on how much information you want or will need at this step. 
        Secondly, the next step after taking inventory the parts to pair up each part with another part and see how each pair interacts with each other. On keeping with the football example we can use a variety of combinations such as: quarterback/wide receiver, wide receiver/kicker, quarterback/cheerleader or any combination of these parts would do.  Once you have described each part, now with some of them pair together you can start to get a better picture of how everything operates.  I’ll start with the pair of quarterback/wide receiver. We see how these two parts interact with each other; the quarterback gets the ball an in turn throws it to the wide receiver. It is the job of the wide receiver to get away from his defender so that he can make a play by catching a thrown ball from the quarterback. What this shows is a more in-depth picture of what each part does.  We know what the two parts will do in the whole of the football team, this one is pretty obvious, but how about something like a quarterback/cheerleader. We know one job of the cheerleaders to create a happy and cheerful atmosphere for the crowds, but how about a less obvious aspect of this relationship. The quarterback is a prestigious position to play as it is the backbone of the offenses and actually is a star anyways, how about paring the quarterback with the cheerleader for a photo shoot to promote the game or the team.  When people think about football they usually just think of the game time, they don’t think about the public relations part of the game.  Would you rather be the team that spends some effort in PR to get the fans excited and promote your team and have a more loyal fans then your opponent?  This would be a more specialized part in the machinery of football. Now, there’s always a flaw if you do not take note of all the parts. Say, you could have the best PR in the NFL, but your kickers and wide receivers could be the worst. This leads us into the last step in this assessment of the parts. 
         The last step is to define the goal of the group and see what each part needs to do in order to get the goal done. By having paired up different parts of the whole, we get an idea of how each one interacts with each other.  The last step is to define the goal or object you’re trying to accomplish, keeping within the football theme, a major goal in football is to make a touchdown.  Starting with the quarterback and wide receiver, we know we need to get them downfield, or throw a long pass, or rush the ball downfield. We already have an idea of what needs to be done. Now if we want to broaden our perspective of things how can the kickers help to accomplish this? Or even the cheerleaders? What this step does is take into account some or all the parts working with each other to accomplish a task or goal. The kickers can help by getting the ball as far down field as possible and help get the quarterback and receivers downfield.  I didn’t have the defense in this assessment, but depending on how much time you want to spend on your assessment is up to you.  For my own time sake I just listed some of the offense and public relations aspects of the football team. There is still the coaching aspect and individual player’s skills that come into play, but the beauty of this system is you can decide how much “magnification of the microscope” you want to use, if you just want to do a brief quick assessment or a lengthy and detailed assessment again it’s up to you. 
      With the assessment we went over how to take inventory of the parts of your unit, putting into list of what you have to work with, to pair up the parts of the unit you do have with another part to see how each unit interacts with the other, to get a better picture of how each part corresponds with another, and you find the goal of the group as a whole and see what each part needs to do in order to get the goal done. Deciding how much work you want to put into this is up to you, making this system quite versatile when you are making plans and seeing where you stand.  I believe being comprehensive in your assessment will give you a leg up on the competition. 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Success and Failure

Success and Failure


                One basic part of any strategy is success and failure. Everyone goes through life making choices that either work or don’t work. A major part in the success, failure matrix is deciding when to pull the plug, deciding if you want to keep on the path you are on despite a failing system, and when to know how and when to let something fail.
            The first thing to discuss in any success/failure discussion is deciding when to pull the plug. We have all worked on things: cars, projects, games that just were not working out. Now, I know that perseverance is a heavenly quality to have and that never giving up is a wonderful thing, but what I am proposing enhances just that. To do things a little wiser and more intelligently, you do not want to waste precious resources into a project that doesn’t work. Say you have chosen a plan of action, you have put lots of effort, time, and resources into it but you’re not getting the proper results you are looking for. If you have done your research and found that you are doing just doesn’t work then it might be a good idea to pull the plug. You will be the best judge to say this is going to work or this is not going to work, so let’s do something else. I would say the best thing to do is set check points for your project. They can be small goals that you place along in your project or just certain points when you review your progress, so you can judge if this is really worth your while or not.
          The second thing to discuss is deciding to keep on the path that you are on despite a failing system. I believe in perseverance in all things, sometimes you need to stick to the path you’re on to get success. This should be in no means an excuse to keep a failing system going. If you have done your checkpoint review then you should know enough to make a decision in keeping the path you’re on or junking what you have for a better system. I believe too many people abuse this step. If something is not working because it was a bad idea to begin with, or something just doesn’t have what it takes to succeed then scrap it for a better system. People get into ruts at this step and run themselves and run themselves into the ground because they are not willing to admit that it just isn’t working. Do not let this person be you. If you scrap something you can always make save it for later and if some advancements have been made then you can come back to it, but don’t put all your money on the wounded horse, diversify and seek other options.
         The last thing to discuss is knowing how and when to let something fail. By no means should anyone keep a system going that they know is not working, If you are worried about what will happen when it fails then maybe you shouldn’t be in the business your in. Everyone needs hard lessons from time to time; we go through things like failure for a reason. Keeping something going that does not work and pretending it does is living a lie and should be stopped immediately. There is a natural course of action that life takes, if you let something fail you are allowing those forces to work in your life and allow it to shape your life for the future. Knowing what doesn’t work is half the battle. Hard lessons learned are often have monumental impact on our lives that pave the way for actual success. An example to use would be a job, yes, everyone needs a job, but say you are to the point in your career that you are loosing your hair, loosing sleep, and just plain fed up with it. You know it isn’t working out anymore, instead of just pretending it is working out, quit. Find another job. There are two types of people in this world, those that stay in dead end jobs because they are scared they won’t find any other kind of work out there and then there are the types of people that quit, go on to college, and make more money then the person who stayed in that dead end job, remained unhappy. While those that left went on to fulfill their dreams because they were not afraid of “what might happen”.
            Part of success and failure is imbedded into any kind of strategy, some will fail and some will succeed. You need to know when to pull the plug, decide if you want to keep on doing the same thing despite utter failure, and know when to let something fail. Do not be afraid of the future do your homework, if there is a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel, pursue it, if it’s only dark days, rain , and no sunshine; can it and go after something else.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sorry

Sorry it's taking me so long to post, I go to college full time and as it gets closer to the end of the semester we get swamped with a bunch of papers. I'll have plenty of time to write more during the summer. I plan on expanding on the basics by adding Time duration and probably start on another topic. So props out to anyone that doesn't think that patience is just something other people do.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Basics: Resources



         The basics:  Well you have to start somewhere and you might as well start with your resources. One of the most basic concepts to developing any kind of strategy is to know how much resources you are going to be working with. Some people might be blessed with lots of resources to play around with will others will have only the bare minimum or not even that and will have to incorporate gathering resources into the strategy.
            For those that have resources a plenty then you have more room to make mistakes and you can increase your risk as losing precious resources will not be much of a bother to you. Say for instance, you were building a house and you had two truck loads of lumber to build that house with. Well you wouldn’t be too worried about the precision with which your carpenters were cutting with. You could be a little more careless about how accurate the cuts were meaning that if they cut a piece of lumber with two feet left over just to get a one foot piece, well you would just have a lot of left over wood. Then from those resources if you felt like it then you could even build something out of that.
           For those that have moderate resources, continuing with the house scenario say you only got one truckload of lumber to use, then you would be concerned a little bit more about how accurately the carpenters were cutting with.  You would tell the carpenters to cut so that you would not be wasting so much lumber. So that one foot piece of lumber used would not be the piece that you cut but what is actually left over. So instead of having enough lumber to build you another floor or room, you would only have enough to build you a nice tree house or something like that.
          Finally, those of us that have very scare resources then having the carpenters cut with extreme precision and having them do it right the first time would be of utmost importance as you only have say half a truckload and that was the last they had available for six months and you had to get it built in three months. This is were strategy plays a huge role in how we do things. Myself I like to do things knowing that I don’t have very much to work with as I believe this allows for some real strategy to come into play. The less we have to work with forces us to really think about how we are going to approach the project or task that is set out before us.
           The three scenarios I gave you were plenty of resources, moderate resources, and scarce resources to work with. Now every amount of resource we have will differ but these three will get you started and don’t think that this just applies to building a house you can use this model for anything, Say, amount of paper you have vs. how much you want to print out, amount of gas that you have for a generator for doomsday, or how big of a cake to make for the company picnic.

Hello everybody

Well hello everybody, as the title suggests "Everything Strategy" is about everything strategy. This is my first time blogging so please bare with me. A little bit about me is that I have just started college and am going for an English degree. It was told to me that having a blog would be a great way of building experience so I am trying this thing out. What I really want to do is to talk strategy. We've all heard the term strategy before and many of use strategy in different ways in our life. I hope to post at least one topic of discussion on this blog that will deal with various aspects of strategy. I don't mean to discriminate on what things will be strategized, but the whole point of strategy is to have a strategy. So as I find things I will blog about them and hopefully have a fun time in the process.