Strategizing

Element Descriptor

Strategy without tactics is the slowest way to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat. If your group cannot develop, through discussion, and then update some sort of realisable strategy, then you might be having fun, meeting your needs, but you’re not exactly a social movement organisation, now are you? You’re a club, a hospital.

Level descriptors

NovicePractitionerExpertNinja
All the individuals in the group can contribute to the creation and maintenance of a basic “smeac”, without worshipping it – no battleplan survives initial contact with the enemy, after allAll individuals in the group can lead processes of creating – quickly but thoroughly – a bells and whistles smeac coordinating multiple resources under conditions of some uncertainty. You can develop detailed scenarios without mistaking them for realityYour group can – virtually intuitively – crowdsource in real time, in a distributed format, a sophisticated, robust and realistic strategy that can cope with multiple unfolding scenariosYou are able to generate, and modify effective clear strategies dealing with multiple shifting challenges and the optimal use of limited resources while simultaneously preparing for an attack by the White Walkers. Shell and the Pentagon are regularly head-hunting you guys

Element Overview Essay

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The cause of social movement organisations not being very good at strategy. I think it comes back to the very meaning of the word strategy. Strategos meaning general, I sure my Greek pronunciation is terrific there. But strategy relies on a small bunch of people or even an individual having a coherent overview and telling other people what to do and those other people going along with that? Yeah, you’ve not been in, in any social movement organisations or social movements, now have you? Right there, and no one really acknowledges this, but right there, you’ve got a problem. 

But if you don’t have strategy – and I believe, by the way that you CAN do collective strategy in small groups and the group that I’m part of now, that’s what we’re doing, have been doing, are doing will do –  if you don’t have some sort of strategic sense, then you’re just again flailing around in the dark and it’s tactics without strategy. Sorry, “strategy without tactics is the slowest way to victory tactics without strategy is the death rattle before defeat” aas, I think Sun Tzu said, or someone said that Sun Tzu said.

What do you do about it? Well, there are various tools that you can use for figuring out what your strategy might be there and there’s an off-the-shelf stuff we in CEM, we use something for our projects called the SMEAC. IT is from the US and UK military, the five paragraph order, which lays out the situation, the mission, execution, administration, and then command and control. 

But that has to sit within an overarching vision because otherwise you end up just doing lots of individual projects, which make you feel good and might get you some publicity. But you know, what is it that you’re trying to change and how are you trying to change it? And how do you coordinate with other groups and individuals to try and achieve that? These are the overarching strategic questions.

Because this is quite a cognitive load, what people end up doing is they find a nice convenient proxy, which is often some big international event, and then you can say, “well, we’re here to protest about that and to make our feelings known.” And that works on an emotional level and an organisational level in the short term, but not for the long haul.

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