Can Tactics Be General?

Sometimes tactics get in the way.  Even good tactics.  Sometimes they are too narrowly defined to be implemented successfully.  Too narrow tactics are hard to teach and they are hard for a client to connect to or control.

Sometimes you need a more general idea and leave the refinement to the person who is doing the task.  Save money is general.  What to invest it into is more specific and subject to changing variables and ideas.  Even how much is hard to relate to every day.

When I was at university we had a very capable defensive lineman who sometimes had trouble reading the blocking pattern.  He was a big, strong and ferocious guy and pretty bright too, but these are not much help if you are in the wrong place or facing the wrong way.

Coach thought that maybe there were too many details.  Here is the suggested general tactic.

“When they snap the ball, jump into the backfield.  Grab a handful of guys.  Throw them away one at a time until you find the guy with the ball and keep him.”

Clear goal.  Situational and variable tactics.

General tendencies repeated over and over work just fine.  Not optimally but they work.  You do not need a perfect answer to every question just decent answers expressed over long times.  A top quarter answer now, well implemented and understood, is better than a perfect answer later.

You cannot know enough to make a perfect plan.  So you need the ability to change, the ability to see the need for change, the overall goal to be achieved and the internal and external factors that influence its achievement.

Financial advisers should be guides.  They should not be mapmakers.

Don Shaughnessy is a retired partner in an international accounting firm and is presently with The Protectors Group, a large personal insurance, employee benefits and investment agency in Peterborough Ontario.  |  Twitter @DonShaughnessy  |  Follow by email at moneyFYI

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