33/52: "That Isn't Focus!"
A short post to start your week.
Have you noticed how one person's focused strategy is another person's vague strategy? Why is that?
It could be different levels of experience. An experienced person will use more information to make better decisions. It matters if x=1.2 instead of x=1.0. For someone less experienced, x=1.0 is fine. Domain experience is also a factor. Someone knowledgeable about a domain may know that the difference between x-1.0 and x-1.2 is important. To complicate things, often experience lets you operate with less information. The strategy that works for you, isn’t detailed enough for others.
Related, it could be the target audience of the strategy. A strategy targeted at everyone may be high level. This makes sense, but it can underestimate the capacity of team members to absorb details.
It could be how the team approaches uncertainty. When lacking details, some teams adopt more coarse-grained approaches. This isn't a bad idea—"in that general direction" is better than no direction at all. But it is important to communicate the current level of certainty. Why? Is the coarse-grained approach ideal? Or a stepping stone?
It may relate to views on empowerment. Some people view an open-ended strategy as empowering. Others view an open-ended strategy as a form of leadership negligence.
It could have assumptions about feasibility baked in. If someone believes an organization isn’t equipped to do multiple things, they may suggest a broad strategy (or a specific strategy). While not ideal, it matches what they believe is operationally feasible.
Keep this in mind when talking about focus. It can be helpful to talk about the decisions you are juggling, and how the current level of focus is either hampering or enable those decisions. “We have to focus” is often too vague to be actionable.
If you are the one communicating the strategy, make your assumptions very clear.
Have a great week!