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Be Strategic to Achieve Your Dreams

Book review by Franke James
Being Strategic:
Plan for Success; Out-Think Your Competitors; Stay Ahead of Change
Author: Erika Andersen

Most reviewers have focused on Being Strategic for its value in business planning. But I’d like to talk to you about reading it to help you achieve your life’s dreams — to build your Castle-on-the-Hill.

Erika Andersen is a familiar name here as she has been an Office-Politics Adviser since 2007. What I have always loved about Erika is her knack for getting to the heart of the matter and giving genuinely helpful and innovative advice. Clearly we’re benefiting from her years of experience at Proteus International, where she has served as consultant and adviser to CEOs and top executives around the world. Erika has also shared her management lessons in Growing Great Employees — an award-winning book that is one of my favorites of all time. She has a great writing style that is a pleasure to read.

So the bar is set pretty high.

I think Being Strategic is an inspired companion to her first book. Whereas Growing Great Employees used the analogy of gardening to teach coaching skills, Being Strategic uses the building of a castle to explain the value of strategic thinking to businesses, and individuals.

Let’s look at what Being Strategic can do for you as an individual.

Have you ever looked at someone who is successful and wondered how they got to that idyllic place? Was it talent, hard work or just luck that propelled them into an enviable career?

While all of those factors do play a role, I believe that long-term success is directly related to an individual’s ability to think strategically. The successful person consistently makes the right choices to get them closer to their “hoped-for future” (a favorite phrase of Erika’s). It’s like they have a built-in homing device that helps them make the right decisions.

Hindsight is 20/20

In hindsight it’s easy to look back and connect the dots. We can see that by accepting one opportunity — and turning down another — we changed the course and direction of our life. But we can’t rewind our lives and record over. We’re always moving forward. So, how can we make decisions that in hindsight are going to appear “correct” because they have in fact led us to our “hoped-for future”?

That’s where Being Strategic comes in. This book can help you to master strategic thinking. While some people have the ability innately, it is also a skill that can be learned — and put into practice daily. This isn’t about writing a strategic plan and then putting it on a shelf to gather dust. This is about using strategic thinking on a daily basis, to help you make the right life choices.

What can Being Strategic do for you?

Being Strategic offers you a step-by-step model and skills for strategic thought and action that are broadly applicable and thoroughly practical:

1. Create your vision of success: Your Castle-on-the-Hill
2. Identify the obstacles (Erika calls them the trolls under the bridge)
3. Create an action plan (the path to your castle: your core strategies and tactics)
4. Re-evaluate your strategy and your tactics as conditions change

Erika says about her book, “It’s a way to make sure you achieve your dreams.” Watch the CBS Morning interview below to hear it from Erika firsthand. And then read Being Strategic.

Erika Andersen interview on CBS Morning

Watch CBS News Videos Online

Being Strategic: Plan for Success; Out-Think Your Competitors; Stay Ahead of Change
By: Erika Andersen
Published: May 2009
Format: Hardcover, 288pp
ISBN-13: 9780312553982
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press



Franke James, MFA is the Editor & Founder of Office-Politics.com, and the author/inventor of Dear Office-Politics: the game everyone plays. In addition to answering letters sent into the site, Franke often writes book reviews and  collaborates with book authors on replies, for example: Robert Sutton, Dan Pink, Amy Sutherland. Franke brings 20 years of real-world business experience to her role as an adviser on OfficePolitics.com… Since 2002, Franke has been quoted and featured in print, radio and TV on the topic of office-politics by the New York Times, Chatelaine Magazine (December 2009), Inc. Magazine,  the Globe and Mail, Job Postings Magazine, CBC Radio, CTV News and other media. Franke’s bio continues

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