Strategy and Unbalance

Unbalance will beat balance when there is a goal and strategy being pursued.

Balance in life is an idea thrown around often. It is commonly thought to be the answer to fulfillment and happiness by way of maintaining an equilibrium between all of the demands that are put upon a person. Remaining balanced is seen as the way that a person keeps their life “in check”, so to speak, not allowing any one area of life to take up an unreasonable or unhealthy portion of their time.

Balance is compromise. Said another way – balance can only be achieved through compromise. When balance is the goal, compromise is the method by which one is able to reach that goal. Prioritizing balance is a symptom of one who does not have a larger goal in place nor a strategy to achieve it. Without a goal or strategy, a person is simply existing. There is likely a lack of drive to achieve anything beyond comfort and contentment and so balance becomes the default goal. 

When there is a larger goal or purpose in a person’s life there is a drive to achieve a specific end. To achieve that specific end they will need a strategy. That strategy will specify the steps and actions needed to make progress toward the goal. Such a strategy will not focus on balance but rather on progress. Driving progress creates opportunity for unbalance and it is in an unbalanced state where real progress is made. 

Unbalance will always beat balance when there is a real goal being worked toward. It is because the unbalance will allow a person to be selective in their pursuits – to say “no” to all things that don’t support or align with the goal being pursued. Focusing one’s resources and abilities toward a single end will increase the effectiveness of those efforts where spreading one’s limited resources across many pursuits serves to make the impacts of those same efforts less potent. 

Below are the tactics and considerations needed to make an unbalanced strategy work effectively:

1. Have a clear, specific goal and know the strategy.

Strategy was discussed in the introduction but is important enough to be repeated as the first consideration. Unbalance is to be used for a specific purpose and that specific purpose must be known and understood in order to keep efforts in alignment with achievement. 

The idea of balance is thrown around in response to those who do not use unbalance as a tool but rather those that are too far unbalanced without having a larger strategy in play. Consider the advice given to workaholics – those that live and breathe their work while other aspects of their lives are left in disrepair. Often the workaholic does not have great relationships and their health is in need of work. Their work is their addiction and their addiction negatively impacts other areas of their lives. This subset of the population is extremely unbalanced and it is not a healthy existence. The problem is not simply that they work too much, though, it is that they work too much to the detriment of everything else around them. Said differently, it is not the amount of work they subject themselves to, it is that their work does not support anything outside of simply working more. 

2. Understand the degree of unbalance to be pursued.

Think of unbalance as a circle within which someone operates. The center of the circle is perfect balance and each step away from the center is a radius increasing the level of unbalance in any one direction. There should be a specific number of “steps” that one is comfortable taking away from perfect balance before they cross a threshold into an area that works against their goals. This is the threshold of strategic unbalance to harmful unbalance. 

The degree of strategic unbalance is defined by the goals and strategy put in place by any one person. There is no standard deviation from the center that is applicable to all people but rather the deviation must be defined by each individual.

Going back to the workaholic discussed in point 1, let’s take another look at their habits. We discussed that the problem is not the amount of work that said workaholic subjects themselves to; rather, the issue is that work is an addiction that controls them. Work is often done at the expense of other things like health and relationships. 

Now, what if a certain person’s strategy is established to be that unbalanced? What if a person has very aggressive goals and their strategy to achieve their goals is to be extremely off-balance to the point that they resemble a workaholic? Would that change anything?

It would. In this instance, the workload taken on is intentional and supporting a larger goal. An extremely unbalanced strategy can be effective if there are very specific goals being pursued and the timeframe of such extreme unbalance is defined. I wouldn’t recommend sacrificing health and relationships to achieve a goal, but I cannot speak in definitive terms for all. 

3. Make focus cyclical and put other disciplines in maintenance mode temporarily.

Humans cannot focus on too many things at the same time without performance slipping and so we must decide what few disciplines of our strategy we will focus on at any given time. When it is decided that one will focus on a select few disciplines, the others must go into maintenance mode while the chosen disciplines are built. This will allow progress made elsewhere to be maintained while building specific areas of focus. 

It must be understood that maintenance mode must be temporary. Maintenance is not progress and so one cannot allow certain disciplines to go into maintenance mode for too long or else that area will start to atrophy and begin to regress. It is important that one’s focus in an unbalanced strategy be cyclical – focus must shift on a chosen interval in order to ensure that all areas are being developed without losing ground in any one area. 

Cyclical focus is how one is able to grow in many areas while benefiting from the focus afforded by an unbalanced strategy. Whereas prioritizing balance will make everything of the same priority, cycling focus in an unbalanced strategy allows for a defined and meaningful level of priority and; therefore, the ability to truly excel in many areas. 

Wrap Up

This Transmission is an important part of the Initiated Lifestyle to understand. It is one thing to be motivated to do more and work harder, but one must also prioritize and understand how to work smart to get the most impact from their efforts. 

The ideas of an unbalanced strategy – having and understanding goals and strategy, defining a degree of unbalance, and cycling focus – are all basic ideas needing to be understood to lead both oneself and to lead a team. As a leader one must be able to see the larger goals and strategy and understand how the tactics being employed work to support that larger mission. Cycling focus, prioritizing efforts, and unbalancing resources to address specific issues are all tactics used by effective leaders, people, and teams to make the most efficient and effective use of resources. 

Unbalance will always beat balance. It is the difference between being effective in a few areas at a time and being ineffective in all areas at once. 

Set a plan and keep resources fluid enough that they can be shifted into those areas that need them. Cycle through the different areas of focus until all areas are built to where they need to be. It is a process. Meaningful change is not quick but takes discipline and time to build.

Yours in strength,

-Jersey

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Leaders Leading Leaders

A team of leaders will outperform a team of followers.

Conventional wisdom may say that a leader needs followers. There are numerous sayings warning of the dangers of having too many leaders on a team, such as “too many chiefs, not enough Indians”. Perceptions may be that there should be less leaders and more followers so that a leader can do their job without conflict and that there are people available to carry out the work. 

Could a team made up entirely of leaders succeed? Is it possible to not have enough leaders? Let’s say that the most successful teams are built entirely of leaders. Does that make sense?

I say it does – a team made up of leaders will outperform a team of followers.

A fact is that a leader that seeks followers may not be a great leader themself for it is far easier to lead followers than it is to lead other leaders. “Easier” in these terms is in relation to the skill level required by a leader. To lead followers, one must develop trust and build a position of higher status to be seen as a leader. To lead leaders; however, one must also do these things but further develop the skills required to listen to and accept conflicting ideas or criticisms. Leaders should actively seek this feedback from their team as such feedback will help to elevate the team’s performance. 

The skills and perspectives of leaders are simply different from those of followers. Much of the friction that can come into a leader/follower dynamic can be attributed to this fundamental miss in understanding.

Below I will make the case that a team of leaders will far exceed the performance of a team of followers through looking at three key characteristics that differ between leaders from followers:

Ownership

The most significant key characteristic of a leader is their understanding and application of ownership in both their perspective and acceptance of responsibility. Ownership means that anything and everything that falls under one’s given responsibilities as well as anything that comes in close proximity to those responsibilities is the leader’s to address. Whether they are the best equipped to handle a specific incident, whether they are trained or qualified, whether they are able to delegate the task to someone else, a leader will take ownership of the situation and see to it’s resolution. There are no hard limits to a leader’s responsibilities and they understand that as a leader, they are responsible for the success of the team rather than the success of only their assignment. 

This shift from self-performance to team-performance is founded in a leader’s ability to understand and buy into the team’s mission. A leader understands the importance of supporting the team’s mission and they will understand that this may require one to step outside of their comfort zones or to overstep a perceived boundary if they see an opportunity to address an issue that will ultimately impact the team. 

Ownership of one’s part within the team and within the mission takes on a different meaning when talking to a leader. A leader’s role in the team becomes less about specific responsibilities and more about success of a discipline. This shift in perspective invests an individual to mission success rather than task success. This change in perspective is difficult to foster with followers. While followers may be able to accept responsibility and also understand the team’s objective, followers have a difficult time stepping outside of the lines and stepping into different roles without being directed to do so. Followers lack the perspective to see how the dynamic of the team and of a situation shifts and ultimately the impacts that this shifting will have on the team’s success. 

This lack of perspective stems from the fact that a follower is not tasked to develop such perspective. As a follower, reliance is placed upon the leader of the group to provide direction. It must be understood that leaders are not perfect and cannot be vigilant and aware of all outside threats. Leaders rely on their team to keep their eyes open and scan the surroundings for such opportunities to head off issues before they turn into larger problems. Followers are less equipped to do this than leaders are.

It is in the interest of a leader and of the larger team that leaders are developed throughout the ranks to take advantage of the strength of ownership. 

Critical Thinking

Leaders are required to think critically to perform their jobs and to be effective. Leaders develop the skill to take in a lot of information, process and analyze, and synthesize a response or plan that will progress the team’s objective further. This all requires critical thinking – a “trust but verify” approach. 

A leader’s perspective to external stimuli is approached from the perspective of “does this make sense?” and “how does this align with the team’s goals?”. These questions will direct a leader’s next move and their response to the information. Leaders question frequently to ensure understanding of the situation and the information. This leads back to ownership; a leader feels the responsibility to make the correct decision not for only themself, but for the team’s objective and mission. 

An effective leader will be influenced less than a follower. Whereas a leader will question to ensure understanding, a follower’s mentality is more vulnerable to external influence and may allow such an individual to stray from the team’s objectives if they perceive they are being instructed by a perceived authority figure. It is in a follower’s nature to follow. 

As a leader, one must rely on their team members to execute on the team’s mission. This execution requires that the team members have the ability to stand up to adversity and make decisions that may be unpopular, but necessary to push the team forward. 

Decentralized Command

A team large enough will be unable to be managed effectively by a single leader. This is why militaries, corporations, and companies all make use of a hierarchy in their leadership structure. As explained here, the hierarchy of leadership allows each level within the hierarchy to focus on specific tasks that they are best equipped to handle in both skill and perspective. 

A hierarchy of this kind requires decentralized command (all credit for this term to Jocko) to make the most effective use of people and resources. Decentralized command is the idea that leadership is found and practiced at all levels of the organization. With a strong fundamental understanding of the organization’s procedures and mission goals, leaders at all levels have the latitude to make decisions that will allow them to carry out their part in supporting the larger objective. These decisions are the tactics that each leader at each level will use to effectively execute their own specific objectives.

This idea of decentralized command flows down to the lowest members on the totem pole. A team built of leaders will train their people and allow even the newest member of a team to make the decisions required to fulfill their role. 

When a team of leaders make use of decentralized command in this way, the team benefits from the unique perspectives and skills of the team members at all levels. This is the effective use of diversity that companies today attempt to foster. Decentralized command – empowering all members of the team to make decisions in support of the team’s objectives – is the most direct way to capitalize on the diversity of the team’s skills, backgrounds, and experiences. 

Wrap Up

The picture that many have of having “too many leaders”; the internal disagreement and differences of opinion that plague opposing leadership, is a reality only when dealing with underdeveloped leaders. Strong leaders that understand the team’s objectives understand that the benefit and success of the team is more important than being right. 

Leaders that understand their role in supporting the team’s vision can assume the roles required by the team and do their part in leading what is within their realm to accomplish with the methods and practices they see fit.

This speaks to the importance of the skill and strength of the most senior member of leadership in developing and clearly communicating the team’s objectives to the rest of the team allowing and empowering all members of the team to lead. 

Strong leaders build and lead leaders. Those leaders that seek followers are missing the point.

Yours in strength,

-Jersey

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Loneliness and Leadership

There will be times of loneliness when pursuing your own path. Such loneliness must be embraced, not feared.

Leadership requires sacrifice. To be a leader one must be prepared and willing to make tough decisions regardless of the popularity of such decisions. It requires one to have unwavering conviction to a set of values and ideals. It requires belief in a vision and the ability to visualize an end goal that may be unrecognizable to others. A leader must embrace the need to stand out in front of others and go against the status quo if they have any aspiration of executing on their vision. 

In the context of this Transmission, a leader is defined as the opposite of a follower. It is not used here to describe a leader of a team, though many of the same ideas discussed in this Transmission apply to team leadership as well. A leader as used here is one who breaks away from the masses rather than blindly following the herd; one who thinks critically and relates all external information back to one’s own Philosophy.

Leadership is a mindset in which all decisions are made based on a set of held values and does not consider the popularity of such decisions. A leader’s decisions and pursuits are driven by something deeper than preference – they are driven by the leader’s beliefs and vision. The success of a leader is not only defined by the number of people they are able to influence but also by their ability to face great adversity and remain true to their values and vision. A leader does not need the support of others along their path if they believe strongly in their mission. 

It can be anticipated that leadership can easily present one with situations where they are put into the position of the lone wolf – the single entity that must stand alone and go their own way. It is important that a leader is able to embrace this position of the lone wolf as it may be a required stage of the process of building their vision. 

A leader must not be afraid of being the lone wolf, but must not strive to be one, either. The lone wolf phase should only last as long as it takes to:

  1. Understand the vision and values that drove one to break away from the herd in the first place. This cements the vision and puts a strategy in place. 
  2. Develop the vision to a point where it is impervious to eternal influence.
  3. Build within oneself the values that they wish to find in others that align with their vision.

The position of the lone wolf is vulnerable. Without the support and protection of a pack, the lone wolf is exposed to attack. Even if the lone wolf is able to fend off attacks for a long while, eventually, the wolf will tire and be overcome by their attackers. With that said, the lone wolf phase of any change is simply something that must be endured and work through. Again, a leader operates from a place deeper than convenience or ease. The deep drive to enact change will push a leader into this uncomfortable and vulnerable position with the promise of coming out the other side better and more in alignment with their values. 

In this sense, community is not a requirement for a leader to be successful, but the available strength and benefit of a supportive community cannot be overstated. It is critical; however, that the leader searches for a community only after first understanding their vision and values. In this way, such a leader can be sure that the community they find will align with their vision and be that strength and support that will strengthen their cause rather than detract from it. 

Feelings of loneliness during the transition into becoming a self-leader or even a leader beginning a new pursuit is a reality of the situation. One’s vision lives within themselves and for them to change their life to be more in alignment with that vision will require one take it upon themselves to enact the required changes. The support of others may or may not be there in the beginning, but through unrelenting pursuit of the vision, one will be able to find others that will provide the support and strength that they need to carry them forward when their own strength is vulnerable. 

This loneliness must not be feared – it should instead be seen as an opportunity and personal challenge through which one strengthens their resolve and confidence to push forward in their pursuits. 

Stay focused and stay the path. You’re making progress.

Yours in strength,

-Jersey

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What is Leadership to a Team

Not all bosses are leaders and not all leaders are bosses.

Leadership is not found in a title – it is found in those who lead. It is the actions, ideas, and practices forged through experience. It is something that is recognized when it is seen and felt by those being led. 

Leadership involves more than being the head of a team. While leadership typically comes with elevated authority, successful leaders need not lean on that authority to lead their team. Leaders lean on the respect and trust between themselves and their team to lead their team to success. 

It takes many strong qualities to lead and to be seen and respected as a leader. It requires a level of self development and understanding that some are not willing to work to. 

So, what is leadership to a team?

Being a leader is a position of strength. It is admirable, it is respected, and it is a position of high responsibility and high reward when done effectively. Leadership is where the Tenets come to life in a setting outside of oneself. Leadership is far from easy and is a test of one’s mettle. It has the potential to test a person in many ways as the challenges of the mission often do not reveal themselves until they are unearthed. Even the best strategies must leave enough lateral movement for tactics to address issues as they come up.

Leadership of a team pulls from each of the Tenets to frame what it takes to be a competent and respected leader.

Strength

Leaders are strong individuals – both mentally and physically. A leader’s strength is something that is felt rather than explained – a leader’s team knows when they are in the presence of true strength.

Physical strength may not be required to carry out the tasks of a leader today; however, physical strength still remains a core characteristic of a competent leader. While a leader’s physical abilities may not help them to perform direct job duties, there is a lot that is understood about oneself mentally and emotionally that can only come through training one’s body. Through strength training, one forges new connections and understandings with their body, their confidence and sureness of self increases, and they have a different understanding of discipline and integrity that those who do not train their bodies will not understand.

Further, the physical strength is a metaphor for what it meant to be a leader in a more primal time. A leader’s responsibility was to protect their tribe from the outside – to protect their “us” from “them”. In an unrefined time violence was common and a leader must have been prepared to fight for what was theirs. This primal response is still alive and well today even if we do not acknowledge it outright – people are more apt to respect the person with a strong, fit physique than not. 

A physically weak leader may often be seen as equally mentally weak.

Mental strength and endurance is the other side of strength that a leader must embody. Not only does it take mental fortitude to make decisions and attack problems, they must accept the responsibilities of performing such job duties with grace and ease. The apparent ease with which one is able to accept the rigors of leadership will determine the confidence that one’s team has in the abilities of their leader. This directly feeds into the loyalty and support that that leader will have from their team and the mutual trust between team and leader that is necessary to a team’s success.

A leader must carry intensity with them into battle for the team will feed from their energy. Intensity is found under a heavy barbell and in study of strong leaders that have come before. It is through training the body and mind that one’s confidence is strengthened and turned into the hunger to succeed. 

The conviction that a leader brings to their role of enacting strategy is founded in the strength and belief in the systems that they put together. Weakness seen in a leader will create unease in the ranks.

Discipline

The most effective leaders rely on discipline amongst the ranks to perform job duties in alignment with the mission requirements. It is through discipline that the lower ranks of the team perform as is expected by the team leadership.

Low discipline teams will not be bought into the larger mission and will rely on motivation to complete project tasks. It is this reliance on motivation that will produce inconsistent and unreliable work products, which will make it difficult for the leader to monitor progress or keep confidence in the performance of the team. A leader that fails to create a disciplined environment makes the team’s performance suffer as well as their job harder.

In order to create such an environment of discipline the leader must embody the discipline that they expect of their followers. Without the ability to lead by example, a leader will have little chance of effectively creating such an environment.

The leader’s role is to push their team to perform efficiently. A leader must do this through setting deadlines for both themselves and their team and requiring that all parties, including themself, meet the deadlines set. Requiring the team to deliver on their commitments is the bedrock from which the team’s discipline will be built upon. Without this easy foundation of trust and discipline, the team will have little chance of being disciplined elsewhere.

Integrity

An effective leader builds teams up with Integrity – completeness and unity of all resources to maximize the efficiency of efforts of the team. It is the completeness and unification of resources that foster synergy amongst the team.

The attitude of teamwork is affected directly by a leader’s ability to integrate all parts and pieces of a team into the end goal. A leader must lead with the understanding that they are part of the team. A leader is not a boss and is not above the culture and values of the team as a whole. Any leader that puts themselves above the team loses their place as a leader and instead becomes a dictator or boss. 

Unity across all of the ranks will create strength that is stronger than the sum of the parts. 

A leader must understand that they are no longer only responsible for their own scope – all of the scope of their team is now their responsibility. The entire team’s performance is a reflection on the abilities of the leader. A strong leader will get more production and better product out of a team than that same team will produce under a less competent leader.

Creating a highly disciplined team makes large strides toward that team being built with Integrity. Through discipline all parts of the team will perform their tasks that support the other branches of the team. The ability of one side of the team to rely on the other side of the team creates unity among the ranks.

Wrap Up

The Initiated Philosophy and Initiated Lifestyle is built on the foundation of only four Tenets – Strength, Discipline, Integrity, and Leadership as these four concepts are all that are needed to build an Initiated life.

I used this Transmission to show how Leadership is supported by the other three Tenets in an effort to not only provide insight into why Leadership is important, but to show the Integrity and synergy that is possible through the study of the depth of these four Tenets. 

Leadership may be where the Tenets are brought out to others, but it is also how one approaches themself

The Initiated are leaders in all senses of the word. They can lead teams as well as be their own leaders of their lives. 

Forge Strength, Discipline, and Integrity – go forth and lead.

Yours in strength

-Jersey

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Lead Oneself Before Leading Others

A leader must first learn to lead themselves before stepping into a leadership role over others.

A leader has no business attempting to lead others until they have learned to lead themselves. One who is unable to stand on their own two feet and face adversity alone is unfit to assume the role and responsibilities placed upon a leader. The grit and determination required to get out from under the thumb of another and on one’s own must first be forged before setting sights toward a position of leadership over others. 

Many do not realize how manipulated by society they are and how deep external pressures have sunk their claws into their soft flesh. One cannot be considered a leader if they are well within the grasp of someone or something else – such a person does not have the outlook required to do what is right and required in consideration of the situation at hand.

A leader must be freestanding and ready to accept the challenges that lie ahead. They must exhibit the strength to stand on one’s own beliefs of right and wrong. Conviction and belief in the plan is a must. A leader must earn the respect and trust of their team and, once earned, protect that respect and trust. This is accomplished through being the example of what others in the team are expected to be.

The bulk of this Transmission will come down to the fact that to be considered a leader, one must lead by example. To be the example one must embody the characteristics that they expect their team to display.

Do What Is Right

What is “right” in the sense of leading oneself? What are the rules that will determine the rightness of one’s actions?

One’s philosophy is the set of guiding principles that one acts in accordance with in order to be “right”. The Philosophy, as the guiding words, will inform what principles one shall act in line with. 

“Right” is relative to each individual just as one’s Philosophy is unique to one’s own values and goals. When one makes the investment to live to their own code, rightness or wrongness as projected by others does not matter. 

Right and wrong is subjective when put out to the masses – what is right and just to one may be wholly wrong to another. It is not a leader’s job to pass judgement upon the ideals of others, their job is to execute the code or strategy to which they have constructed. 

To do what is right takes discipline, confidence, and strength, which are all requirements of a good leader. It is not enough to do what is mostly right or sometimes right. If one wants to be an effective leader, one must buy into doing what is right all of the time regardless of circumstance or challenges associated with the action. 

Do It Consistently

Discipline and Integrity are qualities that any good leader will expect of their team and so they must first be understood and built within oneself in order to bring that with them to the team environment. A leader does not act based on motivation; instead, they act in accordance with their code.

A strong code and belief in that code will drive one to act with more intensity than motivation could hope to muster. A code should serve to be a burning fire that drives intense action toward reaching enlightenment where enlightenment is the realization of one’s Philosophy and values. 

Consistency, therefore, does not come from what one “should” do, it comes from what one must do to live in line with their values. There are few things in this world that are non-negotiable and mission success and one’s values must be of this category. A leader must approach a mission with an attitude that mission success is non-negotiable. The tenacity required to adopt this approach is a tenacity that only comes from one who declares that failure is not an option. A leader must first learn this for themself and then inspire a team to feel the same.

Develop Lacking Skills

A leader must be in control of themselves – emotional intelligence and ego must be developed to a level at which neither will impact one’s ability to lead. 

The inability to control emotions makes a leader unreliable and reactive. Emotion does not appeal to logic and emotional decisions are rarely sound. If a leader cannot segregate emotion from the task at hand, they will be putting their future team at risk of the fallout of poor decisions. Inefficiencies and doubt will run rampant through the ranks under a leader that reacts with emotion rather than acts with intention. A leader must be able to remain sound of mind when facing opposition.

The inability to control ego will make a leader untrusted as their motives for taking specific actions may be suspect. A leader with too large a sense of self-importance will appear to be out for their own interests over the benefit of the team. Their communication with their team will be poor as one’s ego will not allow for them to accept criticisms of their work. An ego is a dangerous liability in a leadership position as it will act similar to emotion in that logic does not stand. Logic will take a back seat to the actions that will serve to protect or build a leader’s ego. Rather than the interests and successes of the team taking top priority, a leader with a hungry ego will put their ego first to be sure that it is fed the buffet of validation that it desires. 

Do It For Some Time

Experience is the greatest teacher because the stakes are real. When one is facing a challenge head-on, it is a decision to take action or fail. These same stakes do not exist when reading a book – if a theory or idea is not understood, one can go back and re-read the section to try again. In the field, facing the challenge head on, one must rely on whatever skills and knowledge one has gained to that point and get creative in filling gaps. 

The best and most useful knowledge is gained through such experience. Experience cannot be gained from the pages of a book but must be collected through repetitive trials. 

A leadership position will generally come with some level of accepted experience and it is for exactly this reason. A principle or idea is not learned until one is able to put it to use in a real world situation. What looks to be a great plan on paper can quickly fall apart in practice as there are challenges and environments in the real world that are not accurately captured in the pages of a book. 

It is these unexpected obstacles that test a leader’s resourcefulness and sticktoitiveness. A leader must learn to see adversity as opportunity and forge the ability to remain present and make sound decisions when the original plan does not go as scripted. This is first done when a leader is striving for their own goals – it is here that tactics are learned that can later be transferred to a team setting where there are more moving parts to consider.

Leadership is serious business. As a leader, one represents their team. The leader becomes the figurehead of those that are under them. A poor leader will not develop their people, will not represent them in the proper way, and will not keep their best interests at the heart of decisions. The team relies on the leader and to assume a leadership position must be approached with the care and gravity that it warrants. 

Wrap-Up

A leader is not a boss or a manager – these are positions granted by title. Leadership is not a title but rather found in the makeup of a person. It is found in a compilation of specific skills and knowledge that allow one to be seen as the person best fit to lead a team to success and victory. 

Leadership is not an idea that should be approached lightly. Leaders are called upon to lead by example. A leader shall be prepared to assume whatever role the situation requires – there is no task that is below a leader as a leader is only concerned with mission success. The ability and willingness to perform any job within the team builds the camaraderie and trust required to foster strong team ties and the trust needed between leader and team. 

Again, one has no business leading others until they are equipped and able to lead themselves. To allow one who does not know the meaning of leadership to be put into a leadership role is irresponsible to the team and further setting that “leader” up for failure. 

Leadership is an Initiated Tenet for a reason – leaders embody the characteristics that the Initiated train for. It is the culmination of one’s study and training and will pull from all of the buckets that one has acquired and built over years of work. 

Lead yourself. Lead your life. Then lead others.

Yours in strength,

-Jersey

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Strategy and Tactics in Action

The follow on to our last Transmission – we explore the application and practice of strategic and tactical planning.

In the last Transmission, the concepts of strategy and tactics were discussed as the two necessary pieces of a bulletproof plan to success. This Transmission will describe how these concepts are applied in both a team and in an individual setting along with some suggestions for how one can maximize the effectiveness of each.

Team Setting

A team setting for purposes of this discussion implies that there are many people organized into some hierarchy to provide clear custody of responsibilities. By definition, the hierarchy will have higher and lower level members. As noted previously, the spectrum of responsibilities in strategic planning to tactical planning shifts from one to the other as one moves from the top of the hierarchy to the bottom – more on this later.

A large challenge to overcome in a team environment is the dispatch of information throughout each of the team members. Each team member must have an exposure to the larger strategy allowing each member to buy into the team’s mission as well as understand how their specific role feeds into the larger strategy of the team. This creates a sense of ownership and understanding amongst the team members and fosters collective strength in team values.

At the lowest levels of a team, there must be an expectation set of taking tactical action. These boots-on-the-ground members of the team are responsible for planning and executing their responsibilities as dictated by the larger team objectives. These members must be provided the latitude to make decisions to maximize efficiency and resource expenditure. To allow for success in these endeavors, these team members must be provided the understanding of how their decisions and actions will add or detract from the overall team mission which enforces the importance noted of each team member having exposure and visibility to the larger strategy at play.

Above the lowest-ranking team members are the tactical planners. These tacticians are responsible for putting the tactical plan together for their team and to disperse the specific tactical objectives to each of the subordinate team members. The responsibilities at this level are to bridge the gap between the strategy and the field conditions and to tie the tactical pursuits into the larger strategic pursuits. This level is responsible for overseeing and managing tactical resources both materially and in manpower.

At the highest level of the hierarchy, and subsequently the furthest removed from the tactics at the field level, are the strategic planners. The highest level of the hierarchy should refrain from dictating tactical approaches for that would violate the principles of decentralized command and result in sub-optimal tactical planning. This will not be due to lack of tactical abilities, but rather from lack of intimacy with field conditions and resources. It is not the job of strategists to think tactically. It is imperative that the strategic thinkers are thinking strategically while incorporating the feedback they are getting from their lower levels or field units.

Of course, this is an oversimplification for explanation of the concept and the success of a team depends on many other things. In the real world, a team will contend with disengaged members, personality clashes, etc.; however, I would posit that if a clear hierarchy and delegation of responsibilities is established and maintained early, engagement across the team will increase over the course of the mission.

For the Individual

As an individual, the same principles of strategy and tactics will apply toward a mission or goal; however, the application will look different. As there is no hierarchy to separate responsibilities, time intervals will serve to delineate the hierarchy described above.

As a single entity, the individual will be required to be both the strategic and tactical planner. Note; however, both roles cannot be filled at the same time for there are different goals to be met by each process. As described above, strategy comes to form in a general flow with a defined end goal. The boundaries and ground-rules are set within the strategy. The tactics are the specific moves that will carry the mission from one milestone to the next along the larger path of the strategy.

It is the time interval on which an individual plans tactically and strategically that will determine which form of reflection and pursuit one is working on at any given time. Strategy shall be set and reviewed on longer intervals in the magnitude of years where tactical planning is generally done on weekly and monthly intervals; depending on the overall scope and length of time of a particular mission.

This is shown in the construction of a 10 year goal. Such a goal will will be of significant enough scope that there will be intermediate milestones set to provide context and frame of reference for the rate of progress being made. Without such milestones, it will be more difficult to understand how one is tracking toward the larger goal.

Driving to these milestones will be the work of the individual tactics employed to address each challenge along the way. Without intermediate tactics, it will be hard to make a strategic plan that provides the flexibility to compensate for the conditions of life.

As a side note, if a 10 year plan does not require milestones and tactics, the goal is far too small in scope and the reader should ask themselves why this goal cannot be achieved in far less time.

Challenge yourself to pursue large goals both for yourself and with the teams you lead or influence. Commit to a goal that is just outside of your current comfort level, then put a plan together to crush it.

Yours in strength,

-Jersey

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Strategy vs. Tactics

Discussion of strategic and tactical planning, the differences, and why both are needed to ensure success.

Accomplishing significant feats require time and effort. In order to challenge and change the status quo one must commit to the process and construct a plan of attack as lacking an appropriate plan increases the chances that the mission will not be successful. A plan is comprised of a balanced combination of strategy and tactics to engage the long term goal through a sequence of smaller steps. Both are needed to remain task focused and realize success.

Definitions

Defining the difference between strategy and tactics will do much of the heavy lifting toward providing the required context for this discussion.

Strategy is the high-level roadmap employed to get from the current position to the completion of a mission. Starting with wide swipes and developing further, a strategy will begin to orient one on their path to mission completion. The strategy will provide order and sequence to circumvent pitfalls and begin to bring context to required techniques and resources. A good strategy continues developing to strike a balance between specificity in direction of action and the ability to freely maneuver as real-time conditions dictate. The strategy should provide a clear picture of the finish line and define the outer bounds to confine and direct the tactics employed toward the end goal.

Tactics, then, are those individual maneuvers, techniques, and systems put in place at each step of a larger strategy to secure incremental progress toward the final goal. The latitude left within the outer bounds of a strategy is navigated using tactics. Tactics are more task focused and a short term plan on how to navigate the current opposition and support the overall strategy. Tactics are more direct and tangible actions and are dynamic in considering the changes taking place in the field.

Interaction of Strategy and Tactics

The interaction of strategy and tactics should now start coming into focus. Strategy provides the boundaries that tactics will operate within.

Balance is key as a strategy that is prescriptive will become too rigid and remove the flexibility necessary to make real-time decisions in the field. A strategy too wide will not focus the tactics employed and will allow tactical efforts to be exerted in too many directions diminishing the ultimate effectiveness of the efforts.

Strategy and tactics are relevant in all situations and environments in which there is a goal to be met.

They may have won the battle, but we will win the war.

This saying depicts the interaction of strategy and tactics in successes on the battlefield; the original example of the larger concept discussed here. Thinking of war as the overall strategy employed to bring ultimate success, the battles are seen as tactical wins that serve that larger purpose.

This also implies that tactics may be volatile in the short term and that a win or loss in a tactical pursuit does not dictate the larger success of the strategy; which is true. The level at which one looks at tactics is from a closer viewpoint than one looks at the overall strategy. Tactics are considered on a micro-scale whereas strategy is on the macro-scale. Tactical engagements may be won or lost but will ultimately aim to trend along the larger strategy. Without vision of the macro, the micro will inevitably come off course.

To be ultimately successful and rise above the volatility of tactical wins and losses, strategic and a tactical perspectives are required to ensure that the tactics are serving to progress the strategy. Without regular review and study of both levels of planning, the overall concentration and effectiveness of the tactical efforts will be diminished. The awareness of these ideas and the interconnection of the two will put one ahead of their opposition. Effectively building strong strategies supported by strong tactics is the recipe for sure success.

Strategize well and attack using strong tactics to ensure victory.

Yours in stregth,

-Jersey

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The Archetype of the Initiated

The archetype of the Initiated is a product of its tenets – strength, discipline, integrity, leadership.

There is an archetype of the Initiated. The associated qualities of the Initiated’s four tenets are manifested in the Initiated few. This Transmission describes the archetype and how each of the core tenets are interpreted in action. This will help identify our Initiated brothers and sisters as well as provide a model to those that are training to align with the tenets of strength, discipline, integrity, and leadership.

Strength

Strength may be the most deceiving tenet. Many may define strength by a physical feat; i.e., pounds lifted. The Initiated holds a far wider definition of strength that includes mental and emotional strength in addition to the more obvious physical strength.

Mental and Emotional Strength

The Initiated rely on themselves first and foremost. The mental strength and fortitude required to take ownership of their values is trained. Mental strength is held in the highest regard and is unwavering in the face of opposition. The Initiated advance their position when confronted by resistance and remain confident in situations of uncertainty.

Emotional strength is regarded equally to mental strength. Without such emotional strength, the Initiated would succumb to the weakness and impulsiveness of their emotions. It is understood that emotional response is not reliable; emotions cloud judgement and produce poor choices. The Initiated drive to logical responses in lieu of emotional outbursts.

Continued learning, analysis, and challenging one’s thoughts and beliefs is systemic to the development of the Initiated; it is the training regimen for mental and emotional strength. Independent study, reading, and journaling are all habits attributed to successes in improving current mental and emotional strength.

Both the emotional and mental strength are exemplified in the Initiated’s attitude and approach to problem solving. They are not victims and do not acknowledge thoughts of defeat. This strength is the foundation from which their world is perceived.

Physical Strength

The Initiated live, breathe, and eat strong mind, strong body. A strong body is the vehicle by which the other tenets of the Initiated are delivered. The body is the outward manifestation of the strength within.

Achieved through work like lifting weights, calisthenics, or chopping wood – the Initiated forge their physical strength in many ways. The physical struggle required to break down and rebuild muscle works to sharpen mental and emotional fortitude the same as it does to fortify the physical form. The reciprocal nature of physical and mental strength is understood and exploited to produce maximum effect. The Initiated recognizes and understands the power to be found in this relationship.

The Initiated train; they do not work out. Strength training is approached with purpose. Whether it is training for competition or training for the rigors of the world, the Initiated train with both intent and intensity. The value of a strong, able body cannot be overvalued. The Initiated train their weaknesses until they become strengths. Training is not driven by ego or vanity – it is a means to effect more power into their challenges.

Discipline

As discussed in previous Transmissions, the Initiated forge bulletproof discipline that drives them to achieve. The Initiated have identified uncompromising values; their unnegotiable terms that they will not sacrifice. Things such as training, learning, and reflection are held to the utmost importance to the Initiated. When challenged to make sacrifice, these Principles are not to be bartered for time spent elsewhere.

The Initiated hold themselves to the highest standard of excellence and expect their output to be of a caliber acceptable to themselves; the job gets done right the first time. These qualities make the Initiated predictable, dependable, and reliable. They are trustworthy and understand the importance of such trust. These qualities are a source of pride and are protected. This builds the reputation of the Initiated individual.

The Initiated show up. They show up regularly, on time, prepared, and ready to perform. It is internalized that consistent moves made with intention will compound into large dividends. They are not afraid to put in the work for those things that they want and will stop at nothing short of achieving their goals. It is the reliance on themselves that drives the initiated to work harder, longer, and with more focus than their competition. The Initiated do not expect favors from anyone and know that for good luck to come, they must put in the work to make it so.

Integrity

The Initiated operate to a code; their own code. The philosophy of the Initiated includes the objective to be better and do better. This requires doing those things that must be done to do right by their peers.

Uncomfortable, hard, and challenging are acknowledged feelings but quickly set aside instead for actions of purpose, righteousness, and character. Integrity is upheld in the face of adversity as the Initiated knows what is right and takes actions toward that end.

Integrity rejects the easy way and the Initiated do not pursue the low-hanging fruit. These values are demanding and their ethos requires they rise to the occasion. These characteristics translate to all tasks and challenges placed before them. Challenges are faced head-on with no reserve.

Leadership

The Initiated are leaders in team settings, in their community, and to those not yet known to them. The strong values and the commitment and determination to live consistent with their values drives action. This action is often an unspoken inspiration to those around them. The Initiated influence their surroundings, commanding better performance from everyone they come in contact with simply by living to their values.

People respond to the values of the Initiated and the authenticity brought to the pursuit of their tenets place them in a position of influence and leadership to those around them.

The Initiated lead from any and all positions and can fall within any team setting to fill the roles required. It is not a hit to the ego of the Initaited if they are not a leader by title; rather the Initiated understand the power they have and can lead and influence from any position.

The Initiated understand the importance of trust in leadership and work to build a level of trust amongst their peers. They protect this gained trust and nurture it. It is this trust that makes them successful leaders.

The Archetype

The Initiated few can be identified from afar. They are the individuals who push themselves to be better. Each identified weakness becomes a priority to be addressed; each area of ignorance an opportunity to learn.

They speak a language of strength and action. They are confident in their abilities to learn, adapt, and overcome. As such, the Initiated carry themselves with a great deal of respect for themselves and their abilities.

The Initiated can identify those cut from the same cloth and they take care of their own.

Be the Initiated.

Yours in strength,

-Jersey

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External Influence: The Community

Community, the primary external influence, can be optimized.

Last week’s article Evaluate Principles discussed the evaluation of those Principles and corresponding values that direct one on their path. A personal philosophy built from such Principles will frame one’s decisions and actions toward achieving their goals. The necessity of evaluating Principles is predicated upon the influence of the surrounding environment to ensure that such external influences do not negatively alter such Principles.

It can be conversely said that in a silo it is a simplified process to define one’s Principles and to act upon them; however, it should go without saying that people do not each live in a silo insulated from the surrounding world. There are constant influences from the environment that attempt to pull attention and a following to their perspective. Both complimenting and conflicting ideals are passed around as fact from any outlet or person interacted with daily. The impacts from such a volume of available information will challenge the beliefs of anyone, regardless of the level of discipline one brings to their pursuits.

The most impactful external influence on a person will be from their close communities – those people or things that one respects and/or interacts with on a daily basis. As such, one’s community must be evaluated and carefully managed to ensure the surrounding community is providing the necessary support toward the realization of personal Principles and values.

A community that shares similar Principles and values to an individual’s will pay dividends in the form of:

  • Reinforcing personal philosophy and underlying Principles.
  • Help to clarify those parts of a personal philosophy that are under development or evaluation.
  • Explore one’s Principles to tighten up and make more concise the Principles held.
  • Push an individual to remain true to their Principles and achieve consistent with their values.

A community that does not share similar values will generally do the opposite of the above and will test the discipline and resolve of an individual toward their goals.

To say that discipline will defeat the constant challenges of an unsupportive community is a hard truth to actualize. A solid community is important when discipline waivers. If the community does not share similar Principles and the discipline to drive toward them; there is no support for the individual. An outlier will be tempted to work their way back to the majority, eventually.

Each person will rise or fall to the level of their surrounding community.

This quote should be considered for the weight of what the words truly say. The community that is built around an individual will either accelerate or challenge growth. It is important to be selective in who is invited into one’s community for the impacts that they will have.

To some, this article is a call to action, as it should be – to take a look at those who are in their community and evaluate their surroundings. A community is a tool in the initiated’s toolbox. A community is not a crutch nor is it a scapegoat for current circumstance. One should give back to their community more than they take. One’s community is not essential to their success; but it can be of great advantage. If one’s community is not pushing them to be better than they were the day before; that individual should consider splitting ways with their current situation in search of a new community.

With this said; allow the closing thought to be as follows:

Do not loathe being a lone wolf;
but also do not strive to be one, either.

Thank you for allowing thebeardreport. to be a part of your community.

Yours in strength,

-Jersey

Amass Choices to Remain Nimble

Choices are needed now to create flexibility later.

The Sunday Transmission thought of the week:

The surest way to increased stress is limited choice.

How often do complaints about a commitment get thrown around? Pretty fucking often – whether joking or serious, the feeling of being stuck in a position is stressful. The idea of having few alternatives and having to stick out an unfavorable situation drives up stress and having choices with steep consequences is limiting. Either situation may force the brain to make compromises and justifications in order to make it through such a situation.

This week I am reminded of the power in having choices. Specifically, choice in income and financial stability.

Anyone paying attention to financial advice or interested in personal finance has undoubtedly heard about diversifying portfolios and multiple income streams. While powerful in practice, it is too narrow. From a wider perspective, this is really a promotion of choice; as in, when one income stream or investment dries up or goes sideways, you’ve got the other diversified options to lean on.

The future is unknown and to put on the blinders and follow one path is potentially setting up an eventual realization that the walls have closed in and there is no reasonable or quick way to pivot. Responsibilities, expenses, and time are working against you and the later on you may be, the harder it is to change course.

Always aim to provide yourself choices and you reduce the risk of getting stuck without an alternate path. Keep your eyes up and scanning the surroundings for potential opportunities and lose the blinders – else you are only hurting yourself.

Yours in strength,

Jersey