The Rewards of Strategic Decision Making

Several weeks ago, while I was writing about strategy and tactics in the Tour de France. I had some house guests, parents and children. Being a New Yorker, I am a committed walker. Most days I walk an average of five or more miles and, on good days, I average ten. I’m not a fast walker. Once, just as I had worked up a good pace and was feeling pretty proud of myself, I was passed by a woman in four-inch heels, pushing a baby stroller with one hand and sipping a Frappuccino with the other, chatting away on her cell phone. Before I could blink she disappeared into the distance, demoralizing me completely. To add injury to insult, I was then passed by an elderly gentleman, jogging in slow mo, who looked like he was recovering from open-heart surgery. So now my motto is, “Distance not speed.”

My house guests, being from the wide-open spaces of the far West and knowing my walking habits, begged me to go gentle on them. Of course, I said, I’ve planned out the whole week to enable each member of the family to see something that they wanted to see, and a few things that I wanted to introduce them to. The first day we walked ten miles – oops! That wasn’t what I had planned, but I had seen a chance to knock off a few sights at once.

The next day, despite my best intentions and the purchase of weekly unlimited Metrocards, we walked 7½ and the next 9¾. After that, what I was writing about strategy and tactics sank in and I gave myself a reality check. The important thing – the strategy – was that my guests enjoy themselves in New York City, not that we check off every sight on the list. So I adjusted my tactics so that we walked less, and then they enjoyed more.

This week, I’m with family upstate. Yesterday I woke up early and got six miles in before breakfast – a little low, but we had our cameras out and were taking photos.  Today, our strategy changed: we walked with an elderly person who needed to get in some prescribed PT walking. We took the same route as we walked before and our progress was more meditative, slow. I noticed several things along the way that we passed by yesterday. 0.07 miles total but it was worth it and we achieved our strategy.

Tomorrow we’ll change our tactics – we’ll rise early and get a full walk in before everyone wakes up, then we’ll add on the slower PT walk later in the morning. That way, we’ll achieve our goals and support the goals of the family.

When you make decisions based on strategy, you may not achieve what you have in the past, but the results will be more rewarding.

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