You’ve likely read this story before, but in my 20s, when I was a young whippersnapper, the feedback I got on my reviews every year was, “You need to be more strategic.”
But no one told me HOW to be more strategic. You know how I learned? Trial and error.
In fact, I kept a list of words at my desk for a long time that I called strategy words. It was an easy way for me to remember how to build something that was strategic and smart.
Today, of course, when someone on my teams needs to be more strategic, we have tools in place to teach them how to do that. We don’t just give the feedback and walk away for them to figure it out alone.
Start with the End in Mind
I always start with helping the person think about the end. What does success look like?
For young women, I use a wedding as an example. What does your wedding look like? Who will be there? What kind of music will you have? What will you serve?
When she can picture the day perfectly, I turn that example to work to help her think through what the end result will be for a client.
This visualization helps immensely.
But there are other ways you can hone those skills, outside of work.
I always suggest playing one of three games.
Three Strategy Games
- Words with Friends. I play a lot of WWF. It’s a great app for when you’re waiting for the airplane to take off or you’re on the rental car bus or you’re sitting on the tarmac or you’re in the doctor’s office. It’s a great downtime app AND it teaches you strategy. I easily have 10 or more games going at once and this is what shocks me about how people play: They don’t think strategically about it at all. They leave the triple words open for me ALL THE TIME. It may be two or three moves away, but it’s clear they’re not thinking about it at all. If you play with the end in mind (don’t leave the triple words open!), this will help you think strategically in other areas of your life. It won’t happen at once, but it will come with time. Don’t leave the triple words open.
- Chess. Chess is probably the strategy game and what you should play if you’re going to choose just one. It requires you to define the strategy, determine where you’ll play, and then execute your tactics. It requires you to think several moves ahead so your opponent can’t strike against you (mate) before you get him or her. Like Words with Friends, it won’t happen overnight, but the more you play, the easier it will be for you to see 15 moves ahead and win the game.
- Risk. Like the other two games mentioned, Risk allows you to develop a strategy to win a war. You are the general of your army and you must position yourself to win outright. Which means you’ll strategically lose some battles, if it means it will set you up to win the war. Unlike Chess, it can take less time to play a game, but certainly more time than Words with Friends. It’s also a fun game to teach your kids how to think strategically before the join the workforce and are told it’s something they need to work on.
So there you have it. Are there strategy games you recommend?