Deep Strategy: A New Approach to Purposeful Living, Work, and Contributions

Deep Strategy is a relatively new approach to purposeful living, work, and contributions that begins with developing, evaluating, and refining hypotheses for every area of our lives. It involves using a method called “bracketing” which can help us address challenges by considering what may be possible, applicable, and achievable in an unimpeded future (right-bracket) and now (left-bracket), followed by taking that effective action in the present that most contributes to our progress towards a desired future state. It involves creating and applying increasingly adaptive thinking, techniques and tools that make use of the Pareto Principle (80:20 Rule), Price’s Law, and Venn Diagrams to optimize the results we can generate from any level of effort in order to improve our overarching performance, outcomes, and impacts.

Developing and Refining Hypotheses

The first step in Deep Strategy is to develop and refine hypotheses for every area of our lives. This means that we need to seek more than a surface-level take on how things work and instead try to get a far-deeper understanding of why things happen as they do. We should strive to gain insight into what is true so we are better able to respond to reality without being hampered by unfounded fears or unproductive delusions. Pursuing scientific knowledge and philosophical truths will help us become more aware of our environment so we can take appropriate action when needed.

Bracketing to Address Challenges

The second step in Deep Strategy is bracketing—a process in which we consider what may be possible in an unimpeded future (right-bracket) as well as what is possible now (left-bracket). By considering the greatest possibilities for the future in light of the need to be effective in the present—and possibilities to create greater momentum in the present by being clear about a highly desirable future—we can more easily identify how best to direct our efforts today so these efforts take considerably closer to our desired future state. This left-bracket/right-bracket pivoting helps us take actions that are both immediately and enduringly helpful—and it keeps us from knee-jerking into unenlightened reactions to current pressures that may cost us dearly in the future.

Applying the Pareto Principle and Other Leverage-Leveraging Tools

The third step in Deep Strategy is creating and applying increasingly adaptive thinking, techniques, and tools which make use of the Pareto Principle (80:20 Rule), Price’s Law and Venn Diagrams. We start by believing that some mindsets, methods, and mechanisms offer radically (not just somewhat) greater payoffs than others. The Pareto Principle suggests that 20% of the factors contribute to 80% of the results. It suggests that we may contribute more by focusing first on that 20% of factors with disproportionate effects. Price’s Law—first applied to the literature on any subject—suggested that half of the publications in any topic area were attributable to the square root of the total number of authors. While Price’s law may not take into account variability by field, publication size, or relevance is does suggest that we should focus on those factors that are disproportionately creative. Venn Diagrams reveal commonalities across philosophies, fields, functions, or other groupings. By focusing on these commonalities—present at the points of convergence among the groupings—we can multiply the applicability of our efforts and get results in more than one area.

Deep Strategy is a helpful approach for purpose-driven individuals, organizations, and communities. Applying Deep Strategy, we have ever-more-relevant and helpful hypotheses that enable us to be increasingly reality-based. We learn how to execute left-bracket/right-bracket pivots to take those effective actions in the present that best lead us to a desired future. We recognize and leverage the idea of disproportionate contributions and rely more on high contributing factors to get the results we want and need. Deep strategy helps us get more return from the resources we invest so we can contribute to a better-functioning society and broader-based human flourishing.

*Heartfelt thanks to Philip van der Merwe for coining the term Deep Strategy to describe Central IQ’s methods.

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