An Employee Workshop for Aspiring Experts

Unconventional Workshop 10


Individual work-process 5

1) Foster curiosity
2) Initiate activity
3) Gain relevant information
4) Discover possibilities
5) Strategize
6) Commit to a project
7) Create ideas
8) Realize ideas
9) Test ideas, find success or failure
10) Use failure as a platform for new and better ideas
11) Repeat part or all of the process
12) Eventually, find achievement
Bonus – Ultimately, gain some level of mastery

Strategy avoids tragedy.

The strategy map
Strategy is a map that shows two points. One point shows where we are now, in present time. The second point shows where we can possibly be, in the future. Within this map, strategy shows the path, connecting the two points. For strategy to be effective, there must be a realistic view of how things are in the present. Within the individual work-process, the gaining of relevant information will provide information relevant to the current situation. There is no way, however, to fully understand the current situation. As for the future, it is even more detached, it didn’t even happen yet. it is simply made up of possibilities, that we ourselves deemed possible.

The Strategy gap
The gap between what is now and what is possible can be filled in with other parts of the individual work-process; creating ideas, testing ideas, failing and using failure as a platform for new and better ideas. Within this process :

• More information is gained, with a better understanding of the current situation.
• Positive results can be explored to better surmise what is possible.
• Failures can be explored to gain information on the obstacles stand in the way.
• Unexpected results can be explored to update existing possibilities and/or discover new possibilities.
• The prevailing path can be adjusted to overcome obstacles and/or lead to updated possibilities.

Realistic, optimistic and pessimistic
To strategize, being realistic is important. It is the point on the map where we are right now. If we do not have a realistic understanding of how things are now, all possibilities will be distorted. The importance of knowledge within strategy is not questionable. We can know everything there is to know about a software product, but if we’ve never use it as a customer would use it, we will never understand how it works as a tool. If we never know how it works as as a tool, it will be very difficult to clearly see possibilities for expanded use.

To see possibilities within strategy, one must be optimistic. To optimistically envision possibilities is to see them in their best light and best case scenario. Within strategy, being pessimistic about paths and possibilities will be helpful, as long as they are thoroughly investigated. Creating a strategy should include multiple paths to multiple possibilities. With much thought, the best strategy needs to be chosen and more activity needs to follow.

Ways to skin a cat
We’ve all heard the expression, “there’s more than one way to skin a cat.” Probably not a great expression for cat lovers, but perfectly describes the concept of strategizing, to find a better way to do something. Strategy is an important part of the individual work-process, and one could argue that the entire process is a type of strategy. Strategy is listed once within the individual work process, however, it exists throughout the process as the Unconventional Expert finds the best way to skin a cat.

New strategies and existing strategies
A good technical support person will be well aware of the importance of strategy, as they will need to troubleshoot issues. Usually, their strategies start as existing strategies that might be considered best practices. If there are three things wrong with the product setup, they know that correcting all three at the same time will not help them in determining the cause of the issue. If they change one thing at a time and test after the change, they can see the results of the change and gain a better understanding of the problem. If troubleshooting progresses and a solution is not easily found, they will need to create new strategies and new approaches, to get to the heart of the problem.

Strategies can be new ideas and new ideas can be strategies
There is a creative side to strategy, and it goes hand in hand with the concept of creating ideas, testing ideas, failing and using failure as a platform for new and better ideas. The main difference is that strategy does not include activity, it is the general plan that will shape the continuation of the process. As intelligent beings, we have the ability to picture and predict a possible outcome and we can do this over a number of different scenarios in order to pick a strategy that is the most practical. Before activity, we also need to commit to a strategy. When we put walls around this, a beginning, an end, and sidelines that want to stay within; we can call it a project. Committing means that all of the various requirements can be met, within this strategy, within this project, within the activity that takes place, within the ideas that come, within the testing of the ideas, within the possibility that failure will result; within the acceptance that failure will not be a stopping point, but a platform for new and better ideas.

To strategize is to look
From the perspective of pure strategy, there is a point, before committing to anything, where we need to step back and look. Investigate all of the options before us, both preexisting and new. Envision all of the possible outcomes. When overcoming some obstacles, there is a nuclear button. That button is to find someone else to overcome the obstacle and pay them to do so. Although, it sounds like giving up, there are always experts who can respond to the nuclear button and save the day; as a part of their expertise. The price is usually high, but that can be taken into consideration when considering other options and the various expenses and risks involved.

The strategy to strategy
Strategy is a part of the individual work-process, but also uses parts of it. Starting with ideas, strategy is the creation of multiple ideas, as they relate to possible activity. There is no activity within strategy, but a visualization of activity, to gain a realistic view of the requirements. Generally, strategizing creates numerous options, which are evaluated in an effort to find the best one. Just as there is a commitment to projects, within the individual work-process, there is a commitment to one strategy. As a strategy plays out, it will never be exactly like the visualized scenario. Usually, there are failures. As Unconventional Experts use failure as a platform for new and better ideas, they know that strategies can be adjusted and/or replaced with new strategies.

Predicting human nature
Part of strategy is prediction and one of the characteristics of human beings is unpredictability. How can strategy include human nature? Usually, through a numbers game. Of course, trying to predict what one thousand people will do will have more merit than picking out one person. In the testing of ideas that are created for human consumption, failure is usually more predictable than success. Salespeople are some of the most interesting strategists and the success they reach using one given strategy for one given month can flip completely upside down for the following month; which can only inspire a new strategy.

Workshop 10 questions:

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