Work: You've got to do it every day.

Work: If you fall behind, you'll pay the price.

Work: There's either too much of it or not enough of it, both of which can push you to the limit.

The kind of work you do, when you do it, how much of it there is, and who you delegate it to are often the cause of the quasi-schizophrenic behavior seen in many business owners and entrepreneurs.

I say "quasi-schizophrenic" because it's the chaotic, confused behavior that reflects the internal struggle business owners engage in between the work that could be done and the work that should be done.

The struggle resolves itself as soon as you discover that there are, in fact, only two kinds of work: Strategic Work - working ON your business - and Tactical Work - working IN your business.

Tactical Work is the work you do every day in your business to generate income, along with all of the operational, financial, and management tasks that entails. It includes interacting with customers, manufacturing your product, delivering your service, paying bills, preparing and reviewing financial reports, keeping your facilities clean, training and supporting employees, and more.

Tactical Work, therefore, focuses on what needs to get done today.

Strategic Work, on the other hand, focuses on the future and on the improvements and innovations needed to create an exceptional company. It starts with conceiving the Dream, Vision, Purpose, and Mission of your company and then building the systems that produce exceptional results for your customers and all other stakeholders.

You are doing Strategic Work when you ask questions like these:

  • Why am I in this business?
  • What is the customer problem or dilemma that we're trying to solve and how will we do that better than anyone else?
  • What will my business look like when it's done?
  • What must my business look, act, and feel like in order for it to compete successfully?
  • What are the Key Indicators that will tell me whether or not we are achieving the results we've defined for ourselves?

Strategic Work is all about the big questions: Who? What? When? Where? Why?

Tactical Work is all about answers: This is the system we use to do each task. This is how we do it, how we measure it, how we monitor it.

Not that Strategic Questions don't have answers. They do.

Once you ask the Strategic Questions, you're already on your way to envisioning their Answers - the Answer lies within the Question.

Question and Answer are part of an integrated whole.

And you can't find the right Answers until you've asked the right Questions.

Tactical Work is how you translate those Answers into the day-to-day operation of your business.

In short, then, Strategic Work is the work you do to design your business, and Tactical Work is the work you do to implement the design created by Strategic Work.

The more Strategic Work you do, the more effective, productive, and joyful the Tactical Work becomes.

Without Strategic Work, there is no design, no plan, and all that's left is keeping busy.

"Busy, busy, busy, busy. Doin' it, doin' it, doin' it, doin' it."

You've certainly heard that refrain before.

Strategic: the way to break through it.