Trying to catch up from the point when work swamped me last week.
My longtime amigo Dave Schuler at The Glittering Eye voiced a disagreement with my post Ruminating on Strategic Thinking II. : Social Conditions which he set forth there, as well as in the comments section. Here’s Dave:
My blog friend Mark Safranski’s recent musings on the nature and sources of strategic thinking brought to mind an old politically incorrect joke whose punchline is “Know how; need chance.” He opens the post with a substantial list of strategic thinkers and then tries to find commonalities among them. I found his list of commonalities uncompelling. I don’t think these commonalities illuminate what strategic thinking is comprised of but rather what circumstances provide the greatest opportunity for strategic thinking.
For all we know the greatest strategic thinker of all time is sticking components onto a circuit board in Chengdu. We’ll never have the opportunity to see the results of her strategic thinking because she’s just struggling to make money to send to her parents back on the farm.
What “strategic thinking is composed of” – that is to say, the cognitive level behaviors – I speculated upon in part I – Ruminating on Strategic Thinking. I do not expect that I was successful in being comprehensive there, but I think that post is much closer to what Dave was alluding to above.
Part II was subtitled “Social Conditions”, which dealt with an informal case study of men “who had the chance”, the US leadership of WWII and the Cold War. Dave is correct that the human population of Earth or of a nation is statistically likely to yield a talent pool more able at strategic thinking than a subset of a narrow elite groomed or self-selected for that purpose. However, the hypothetical potential of humanity at large does not provide me with case studies to examine they way that historical elites do, strategy often being intertwined with the holding and exercise of political power.
Part III, assuming I can get to it in a reasonable time frame, will look at activities that build an individual’s capacity for strategic thought