What's Missing?

It's the start of a New Year and many of us are busy making some resolutions for change in this new decade.  If you're setting future plans, it might be a great idea to read my blog on Setting Objectives.  It could serve as a great template for what you are attempting to achieve.  

Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics

For most of us, however; New Years resolutions are usually about change.  Many of us vow to change a behavior, abstain from some sweet or fattening treat, or promise ourselves that this is the year we are going to get into shape or stop smoking.  I found some statistics that I think you might find interesting from an article in the Journal of Clinical Psychology.

Taken from a study on human intentions, the following shows the percentage of resolutions that are maintained by the test group as time goes on:
- past the first week: 75%
- past 2 weeks: 71%
- after one month: 64%
- after 6 months: 46%

From a Warrior's perspective, it's clear there was some strategic consideration from these participants, as they all had a measure of intention.  Given the fact that three quarters of the participants of this survey completed the first 7 days, one would conclude that there was at least a small degree of tactical execution.  My question here is "what could have caused such a steep decline in performance over time?"  For those of you that I have coached, you know it is my contention, that something is missing.

The Missing Link
Yes, strategy and tactics have made their way into our everyday lives and we have learned to use them to explain “the big picture” and “the steps along the way.”  This simplified use of military terms has helped lots of leaders today, but something is missing and it is this missing level I would like to devote a special level of attention to, as it is the "glue" that holds strategy and tactics together.  This level I am refering to is called the Operational level and it is the heart of Warrior Life Coaching.
It is the operational level that you rarely, if ever, hear about from business leaders, politicians, or even yourself.  The operational level is lost in the civilian translation and its absence is apparent in every great undertaking that falls short.

The Good Book Says

One of the military's manuals says it this way. “The operational level provides the vital link between strategic objectives and tactical employment of forces.  At the operational level, military forces attain strategic objectives through the design, organization, and conduct of campaigns and major operations. Tactical battles and engagements are fought to achieve operational results.”

Simply put, the operational level is the sequencing of tactical engagements that achieve "bite-sized" chunks of a larger strategic objective.  Where I believe we fall short as individuals is not our strategies or our tactics, but our ability to regulate our own internal operational level, or as I refer to it in Warrior Life Coaching, your Operational System.  

When it comes down to the most basics of truths, there are only 2 things we as humans control; those two things are what we think and what we do.  Being able to consistently perform a behavior at a high level of effectiveness is made possible through information, muscle memory, and most importantly a functional transfer of chemicals and electricity within our brains.  When our performance lags or we fall short in mental or physical tasks, we can usually relate our performance to one of these 3 factors.  These are the components of your Operational System and in our next 3 blogs I will address each component, its effect on tactical execution, and most importantly, some techniques to enhance your personal Operational System.

Take Away

As tomorrow marks the 7th day of the New Year, I would like to think that most of you are still on track in your resolutions for 2010.  To those of you I say congratulations!  If you are in the waning 25% that fall off in the first week (see above statistics) then might I suggest that your Operational System needs a tune up?
Warrior, out!
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