Certain things must be said, but of which one cannot speak one should remain silent. This is strategy.
To remain invisible is the task of the designer and the strategist. It is the message, not the messenger, which is at stake. Strategy is invisible, because it is a secret. It is the secret of professional planning tactics.
Strategy starts with having a helicopter view. This insight in situations is developed by being well informed. In order to perform the strategist needs to have access to the restricted area of inside information.
To perform we need to know certain things. To survive we have to be carefull not to know too much. Knowledge itself can be enchanting. Knowledge can be enhanced by using intuition. Intuition is used when the information we receive is of a confusing nature.
When information is confused we call it dis-information. Such information belongs to the use of counter strategies. If this is the case we can only be our own best friends. In the end discrimination, experience, common sense and simplicity of means are the highest tools.
Using context and discipline
All strategy is related to context. In marketing it is related to markets. In war it is related to conditions and terrain. In communication it is related to specific audiences.
There can only be communication when there is strategy. Strategy defines goals and targets. Without strategy there is only noise. Noise has meaning nor direction.
The oldest strategists are the Chinese. Their history is of such horror and terror that they had to develop a system of strategies to survive the imbalance of their times.
The strategies of today’s communication industry are related to standards in marketing, integrated forms of communication and guerilla tactics.
New forms of strategy have been raised since the publication of books like Concepting, Experience Design, The Cluetrain Manifesto and The Idea Virus.
All strategy starts with discipline and decisions. There does not exist one panacee for every situation. Flexibility is the most cherished quality.
The quality of intelligence
In Chinese thought the basic force of the universe is hidden. It is a force that cannot be specified or named. Therefore it is usually referred to as Tao.
This force gives birth to a domain which is constituted by opposites. These opposites are called Ying and Yang. Ying and Yang behave in endless modes of change. If one force develops, the other will decline, but only for a certain period of time.
The primairy goal of the Chinese strategist is to avoid imbalance. This is done by avoiding extremities. Extreme is ultimate Ying or Yang. In other words: extreme development of action or passiveness. To let developments grow into a desired direction, interference with or into the development should be minimal.
If all conditions are met, if the organisation of things is set straight, if all hands are on deck, we can speak of a strategy of unification.
The basic quality of this strategy belongs to the refind use of intelligence.
All projects and missions are developed under the influence of visions, insights, the planets and the stars. Situations, time and place prove to be a well ordered constellation.
Some constellations may be lucky, while others are destined to fail from the beginning. If all forces work together the outcome will be right. If not, there will be little time to regret.
In order to be the one who has seen it all, you have to be aware. Aware of what is obvious, of what is hidden, of what is vague and chaotic, of what is clear or confused. This awareness also involves knowing who you are and where you are, what there is to do and what not, an understanding of limits and implications and insight in the use of strengths and weaknesses.
Such awareness smoothens your performance. To be clear is to be cool and to be cool means to be visible and invisible at the same time.
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