WATCH: The Paradox of Strategic Acumen

Today I’m going to talk about the Paradox of Strategic Acumen. It’s one of the twelve paradoxes developed by Dr. Dan Harrison.

Paradox of Strategic Acumen


So if we take a paradox as meaning, two particular statements which may in fact both be contradictory and true at the same time. We can look at the Paradox of Strategic Acumen as having two particular traits or behaviors. Tendencies which may seem contradictory but which in fact are both true and synergistic when they come together to form something new that’s better than either/or.

Optimistic vs Pessimistic

So I’d like to talk about the traits first of all. And the traits are optimistic. Which is believing that the future will be bright. And analyzed pitfalls which is beginning to look at and analyze the pitfalls in a particular plan or strategy. Now if we’re out of balance in a particular paradox, where for example we’re very high optimistic but low and analyze pitfalls, we can feel yeah the world is gonna be brilliant. Go for it but other people will see us as blindly optimistic. Because they can see that we’re not analyzing the pitfalls and they may be pointing things out to us that may go wrong and we’re going “no, it’s all gonna be fine don’t be such a naysayer. It’s ground you know you’re just being negative. You’re just being pessimistic. You’ve got to be cheerful stay upbeat. But what that can do is actually make us look actually lacking in credibility. And being yeah blindly optimistic and not really seeing the truth of the matter. Whereas if you have very high analyzed pitfalls and low optimistic you could actually end up being quite pessimistic and skeptical. And that means that actually you need to be really careful especially if you like that with your team. Because you’re just saying all the things that won’t go ah that are going wrong, and then that can put a real downer on your team. And actually erode the emotive motivation of your team’s.

You need to be careful with that as well. So bringing the boat together you can have realistic optimism. You can see what can be brightly achieved. And you can say well these are the things that we need to be aware of. And it’s also important to look at when we’re one or the other, especially these odd balanced trades under pressure. The skeptical person can actually flip and irrationally become up blindly optimist, and that’s irrational behavior. And then also the blindly optimistic person can actually fall into becoming really doubtful and totally skeptical. And that’s also an irrational behavior. So think of where you are, where your team is and how you can be more realistically optimistic. Thank you!


With best regards,

David Klaasen 

Talent 4 Performance help business leaders clarify complexity. We inspire people and drive continuous performance improvement, so they can convert thinking into action and results. 

©David Klaasen – 2014