17 January 2008

An inherent paradox

Like historians, the marketing/business strategist can draw meaningful conclusions from experiences and data from the past. To do this meaningfully, the strategist needs to keep an open mind; to act like a pioneer exploring unknown territory and, then, arriving at a destination which may not be of her/his choice.

The job can be tricky. Experience and data reveal the past; drawing conclusions lead to the future. The tasks are opposite in direction. One task requires investigation; the other, invention. It’s as if a paradox is inherent in the job of the strategist.

Moreover, as the strategist works in the present, s/he has to manage the participation of the team members at work on the project, as well as the politics that governs them. This is not always easy.

When people come together on a project, they bring with them their past experience and their current concerns, both as individuals as well as members of corporate/business teams. They bring into the project their egos, insecurities, personal interests and commitments that may transcend the problem at hand.

Yet, these people determine the shape and the outcome of the project. Sometimes discretion, or withholding proprietary information, or just plain ignorance may prevent an otherwise acceptable solution from being considered.

This, too, is a paradox inherent in the job of the strategist.

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