From implementation to strategy

The closer you can help a business get to where it wants to go, the more strategic your work. (Perhaps the most strategic work involves helping business leaders figure out what outcomes they’re trying to achieve with their businesses.) 

It adds more value to the business, which also means they’re willing to pay you more for this kind of work. 

On top of this, strategic expertise is more rare than implementation expertise. In The Business of Expertise (p. 144), David C. Baker writes, “The positioning of your expertise is built almost exclusively on your strategy and not your implementation work.” By strategy, Baker means research, insights, expertise, thinking, analysis, etc. 

Tom Critchlow compares some great examples of strategic work here: instead of doing copywriting for a website, create a style guide for all the writers or a content strategy for the entire website. 

One key nuance is to keep your main thing the main thing. Andrew Wilkinson writes of a failed attempt to move too far into the strategy direction and delivering 50 page decks, “Unfortunately, none of it was faithful to what we do. The best businesses do one thing well, and at MetaLab we build stuff. Strategy is all about ten years from now when we are good at now. They wanted mockups and prototypes, not 50-page strategy decks.”

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