Chickens, Roads, Eggs: It’s All About The Strategy

As might be apparent from my grand announcement that I’m returning to blogging, my immediate posts will likely center around my two pursuits: rare lung diseases, and life as a manager. Since I last left you with news of my health, let’s switch gears to Management 101.

Let me first say that anything I write here is a purely fictionalized account of what may or may not have happened to me in my real life job. And quite possibly I could have dreamt the whole thing. I mean who knows, but please, no grounds for anyone to sue me or get bent out of shape.

Strategic Plan. It might be appealing as a solo pursuit, but it never is. It takes a village. There is a Whole Team. Rah Rah. The Whole Team must march forward in lockstep. So let’s say you have to choose between a team assignment of creating a strategic plan or, I don’t know, poking yourself in the eyes with a fork. Go for the fork. Seriously. It will be over quickly and probably won’t hurt as much.


If you’re stuck with no choice, as I was, try to block out the whole ugly memory, but barring that go ahead and blog about it. Here’s what I remember…

Me: So let’s start with a road map. We know where we want to go (our mission) but what is our strategy to get there?

Someone on The Team (SOTT): So do we want to start with goals or objectives?

Me: Uh…goals?

Someone Else on the Team (SEOTT): I disagree. I think it’s important to look at objectives first.

Me: OK

SOTT: I feel like it makes more sense to look at goals first

Me: OK

SEOTT: How can we possibly define goals if we haven’t set objectives?

Me: Let’s go with goals, then objectives and see how it flows. Just to keep this moving.

SOTT: I think our first goal is for the chicken to get across the road, with the objective of laying an egg

SEOTT (in a triumphant voice): Well there you go. Obviously the chicken has to first set the objective of laying an egg before setting the goal of crossing the road!

Me: Ummm

SOTT: Now that I think about it, crossing the road isn’t even a goal. It’s a tactic. Laying the egg is the goal, possessing an egg is the objective, and crossing the road is the tactic

SEOTT: Seriously? Clearly possessing the egg is the goal, the tactic is crossing the road with no traffic, and the objective is laying a perfectly brown egg

Me: Ummm

Yet Another Team Member (YATM): Shouldn’t we have a goal of a dozen eggs, half white, half brown, with the objective of making breakfast? As for tactics, the chicken could just as easily stay on this side of the road

Me: Ummm

SOTT: I think we need a consultant and possibly an extra chicken and a basket for the eggs

Me: Gaaaack (sound of choking as I hang myself from the ceiling)

So for the record, three years of postgraduate work, 25 years clawing my way to middle, to upper middle, to lower upper, to mid upper management, and countless hours of my life sitting in a conference room wondering how everyone else landed there. Still wondering.


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8 Responses to Chickens, Roads, Eggs: It’s All About The Strategy

  1. Marilyn says:

    Glad your back and enjoy your blog.

  2. Betsey says:

    If you haven’t seen Weird Al Yankovic’s song “Mission Statement ” on YouTube yet, stop what you are doing and watch it right now.

    • Jill Foer Hirsch says:

      I love it! Here’s a link for anyone else who’s curious. This accurately describes hours and hours and hours of my life I will never, ever get back. Geez, paradigm shift alone must have consumed days.

  3. Took me right back to my work life. We would have 2 day budget/goals meetings off site. Ye gads! We would discuss things like “is the proper word should or could or would.” I would do the hanging pantomime when the moderator wasn’t looking (always got hairy eyeballs from someone). After an hour I would scream out, put one down! We can always revisit later (then under my breath I’d add “when I’m gone”). You have brought back really bad memories.

    • Jill Foer Hirsch says:

      Oh offsite is the worst. There’s no getting away! I once spent two days at an accounting manager “retreat” discussing how a single specific transaction flowed through T accounts. I flew six hours just to attend that meeting. I have proven that it must take longer than two days to die of sheer and complete boredom. But had there been a day three, I swear I would have been a goner…

      • You are my idol. I was not good on day 2. Someone brought the baby candy bars that you hand out for Halloween. I don’t even eat candy so you can imagine the sugar high I had. BTW something is wonky with WP. It refuses to acknowledge your blog. Perhaps that’s your punishment for such a long lapse. I’m going to re-subscribe and see if that works.

        • Jill Foer Hirsch says:

          Sugar, yes! Without liberal amounts of sugar and coffee, all bets are off. Thanks for the head’s up about WP. I’m still having problems liking and commenting on other blogs. Sigh. For what we pay for WP you would think it would work right! Oh yeah…I forgot…it’s free…

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