Who is Your Strategic Opposite? – Talk2Think TV with Guest Maggie Knoke

Strategic executor and consultant, Maggie Knoke, is “unreasonably interested in other people’s businesses,” and adores getting people and teams un-stuck and through pivots.

Maggie shares, “i believe strategic planning is really about action planning and must be do-able, instead of something you create once and then stuff in a file and ignore. I often play the strategic-opposite role to visionaries: executor/integrator. I am a 100% nerd for helping visionaries and executors be effective as solopreneurs, with each other, and with their teams.”

Host, Kelly Pratt, met Maggie Knoke when she attended a presentation Maggie delivered on Creating A Strategic Decision Guide For Yourself and immediately recognized herself as a Visionary, in Maggie’s terms. Visionaries are fueled by ideas and tend to occupy roles like Founders, Serial Entrepreneurs, Leader of Innovation, Creative Director, and so on. Maggie also termed their strategic opposites – Executors – who are fueled by identifying practicalities, lining up priorities, and ticking completed tasks off “the list.”

As you might surmise, each type has its strengths and weaknesses.

“I feel like a female Willy Wonka. I am an idea factory, but don’t have any Oompa Loompas.” — KELLY PRATT

Read more at So, Do It! Society.com.

As an Executor, herself, Maggie loves getting caught up in the excitement Visionaries feel about their ideas. Her strengths lie in bringing those ideas down to Earth and executing them, without anybody falling into the trap of trying to Do All The Things All At The Same Time.

In his book, “Traction,” author and founder of the Entrepreneurial Operating System, Gino Wickman, terms these “Right Hand” types Integrators. In their roles, they often liaise between the Visionary(ies) and the rest of the team to communicate the Big Picture and execute it on a defined schedule.

Imagine a roomful of Visionaries. There’d be a whole lot of ideas coming out of that meeting! But, who would line up priorities, sequencing, the production process, the schedule?

Result: no traction.

A visionary’s big ideas can suffer from the arrival of new ideas or distractions that beckon: “Yes, I’ll get that new copy finalized by the 24th and — Look, squirrel!”

Executors can also be masters at resisting the “Shiny Penny Syndrome” that afflicts many Visionaries.

On the other hand, the effect Visionaries can have on Executors is to push them to take risks outside their comfort zones, re-frame their thinking, and say, ‘yes’ to ideas they might not usually try.

A room full of Executors by themselves might tend to shoot down ideas one after the other, and consequently move nothing forward.

“The danger of over-engineering is real.” — MAGGIE KNOKE

Visionaries often “color outside the lines” and think non-linearly. As strategic opposites, or Accountability Partners, to Executors, they might shake loose new ideas via Mind Mapping, a SWOT Analysis, or even a whiteboard full of stickie notes.

The So, Do It! Society aims to provide a safe space for its members to explore ideas and discuss sparks of insight. In this episode with Special Guest, Maggie Knoke, host Kelly Pratt and Society Members discuss:

Whether they self-identify as Visionaries or Executors.

The benefits/challenges of working with Visionaries | Executors.

When staffing a team or a building/founding a business, what strengths/skill sets does the team/do you already have? Where are the gaps? Complement with strategic opposites – fill the gaps.

What is Maggie’s Strategic Decision Guide and when/how to use it.

Discerning between junky “mental ephemera” and promising “percolating” ideas + the benefits of building routine(s) that “work for your brain.”

The benefits of Operating Agreements between Visionaries and Executors and what to include in them: what to do with new ideas, process(es) for changing scope/direction, how you’ll communicate + make decisions, how work will be shared with the team.

Resources that came up during the group discussion include (none of these are affiliate links):

What about you?

  • Are you a Visionary or Executor?
  • Do you use a system to track your ideas or to follow routines?
  • When is a time during your day or week when your brain is “in the mood” to ponder your Big (Heart) Ideas, to identify milestones, and review how you’ve been spending your time?
  • Has your time been spent in service to your Big Picture as much as you’d like?