Skip to main content

Next Steps

Lesson 10 from: Think and Work Strategically

Jason W Womack

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2200+ more >

Lesson Info

10. Next Steps

Next Lesson: Q & A

Lesson Info

Next Steps

I'd like to share an exercise with you again. This is one that I learned way back when, and I've used this through every iteration of businesses, books, organizations, whether I've worked with them or volunteered with them. And here's how I do it. I'll pull up in my notebook and I believe I left one of these in the handouts for you. For those of you online, I would have at least five rows. And I don't know why five, five just seems to be what I always come back to. As far as columns, you can let yourself play in amongst those. I know the first time I did this there were three, and then over the years I've tended to add different columns. And here's what it looks like. Is down the left hand column, on the left hand side, I will write down the names of people that I spend a lot of time thinking about or with. So left to my own devices, if you give me a couch and a notebook, or you put me on an airplane, or I'm out for a long run, the chances are high I'm going to think about my wife, Jod...

i. The chances are high I'm going to think about my buddy, Quanta. The chances are high my dad's going to come to mind. So for you, if you were left to your own devices, you had a little bit of time to think, who are the people that come to mind? Remember the first time I did this, the mentor that walked me through it, Martha. I wrote down five people that I worked with. Jodi and I worked in the same high school. I wrote down my department chair, my other department chair, and the two teachers that I was making lesson plans with, and I realized, "Whoa, I'm pretty concentrated "in this little ecosystem, who I'm spending time "and mind share with". As you think about this, maybe go out over the year. And over the next year, who are those people who you will think about who will come to mind, who will influence you. And so that's step one. Step two is to label the columns, and I'll share with you what I did, and you may want to take this. You may want to edit it. You may want to play around with it. I'd love to hear what you come up with that I could try, that I haven't tried yet. Again, the first time I did this, I headed the columns the big three. I headed the columns, books they talked about, goals we talked about, and I even put money they made each year. Cause I wanted to get a really clear snapshot of what I was being influenced by. Of what around me was coming at me. Now as a high school teacher it was really easy because the schedule of income was published throughout the school district. For some of your jobs this may be a little more difficult, or it might not even be important, or appropriate to have that column. Other things that I've put in there, how many days of vacation each person has taken, what countries these people have visited. And then what I do, is I start to fill in the columns. I start to fill in the rows. So when I sit down and talk with Jody about her goals, and Quana about his goals, and Joe about his goals, and Craig about his goals, what are we talking about? Am I receiving mostly, am I contributing mostly? Are they talking about a goal that they were talking about last year, and the year before that, and the year before that? Or are they talking about books that they've read that they are going to continue down that path of research or engagement. Essentially what I'm doing is I'm taking a picture, a snapshot to find out how diverse my network really is. What my network is curious about. What they stay up at night or wake up in the morning thinking about. One of the things that I look out at my network, I look out at the people who are influencing me. Oh, by the way, I did this just awhile ago, and on that left hand column I made all of the people, editors of magazines and authors of books that I'd never met. You see, I take several magazines and I had this epiphany one day that the editor of the magazine is filtering what I do and don't see. So hm, what books does that editor read? What vacations has that editor taken? What do they talk about for their goals? Because what I'm reading is their filtering of what they're letting me have. I change the book on my coffee table at home, and the next guests that come over to visit will have a different conversation. I walk into your office at work. If I take one glance around, the pictures on the wall, the book on your desk and the website that you were just visiting, you're branding yourself of what we do or don't talk about. I'll take that "So That" exercise, where you went through the layering process, I would make that pretty, put that on the wall, so the next person could walk in, can go, "I can help you with number four". And finally, the process of being outrageous. My network will help me or distract me from adding a zero. Now adding a zero is an idea more than a directive, But the way that I thought about this and I'll be very transparent with you, A: I might never see you again, but B: I want to be very real. The first time I did this was 1997. I was a high school teacher, as I've shared. I made $27,500, that was my annual salary. My mentor sat down, she said, "Great, Jason, write down how "much you're gonna make this year". I wrote down $27,500. She said, "I want you to write a new number under that". She said, "I want you to add a zero and move the comma". I froze... I froze. I was a third year high school teacher. I had capped out that year at making $27,500. How on earth could I imagine making $275,000. And that's when I realized that in my head, I had a block. In my head, I was stopping myself from wanting the more that was right there abundantly available for me. So I want to hang out with people who are three different kinds. I think this is where we'll start to bring this piece of strategic thinking to a close. I think about that list of people, either on the left or right hand side of my "So That" exercise. I think about those folks that are in my quadrant system, my grid system, and there's three kinds of people that I'm going to spend more time with. One, the visionaries. The people who can look out and see a bigger picture than what we're currently talking about today. Two, the realists. They're gonna edit the heck out of my stuff. They're gonna find the "T" I didn't cross, and the "I" I didn't dot, and the error on my workbook. The accountability buddy. When I sit down with her or him, they're not gonna build it up, they're not gonna break it down, they're gonna ask me how I'm doing. Now I found over the years that one person is not all three, nor can she or he be, in fact, if I have one person I try and do all three, it gets confusing, it gets hard. Because the other person may not know what role she or he is taking. But for me, I want people to step into that, "Hey, will you help me expand this? "Will you help me think about this bigger. "I'm working right now", hypothetical example, "I'm working right now I'm bringing a program "to a new audience of ten people". I want someone to come in and go, "Hey Jason, how do we make it 100?" The realist, I want them not at the beginning of the story. I want them halfway through, plus or minus 60, 40%, somewhere in there. I want them to come in and go, "Hey Jason, here's what I see you've done, "here's where I see you want to go, "based on my experience--" By the way, my realists, I want them to have experience in what they're coaching me in. Anyone ever gotten advice from someone that you were fairly confident they didn't take the advice they were giving you. "Hey you know what you should do?" And then they'll tell me, I'll go, "Well did you do that? "Oh no, no I read about it". Well hold on a second, why don't we get advice from the people who are doing those things. And then the accountability buddy. And this is something I know we'll talk about in subsequent courses when we're talking about building resilience, those people who are around us that hold us to our word. You know, it's amazing how quickly we will break our promise to ourself, and how far we will go to keep our word to someone who we gave it to. So as we start to wrap this portion of the course together, when you're thinking about capturing your strategic thinking along the way. What I'll invite you to do, is to write more, journal more. And as some of you have already either intuitively sent me messaging, or I think I've heard two people already tell me this morning, slow down. Journaling to me is one of the easiest ways to slow my thinking down, like I said, I can talk at about 120 words a minute, I mean heck, we can watch a movie and capture 32 pictures a second. Writing, way down. And I do sometimes write if I really need to think about something, I'll actually put my pen in my opposite non-dominant hand. Cause that really makes me choose what words that I shouldn't write cause it takes too long to write that much. And let me just end this little piece talking about a great tool for strategic thinking. A great tool for strategic thinking, are biographies. I will often go to a book store, I'll often go to Wikipedia, I'll often go to a museum because in those places, with those products, I can see how other people did it. I can see how they thought, I can unpack their process. Two of my standby biographies that I'll always recommend people go and study, one is Bruce Lee, and the other one is Richard Feynman. Bruce Lee because as a martial artist and an actor, he was willing to slow way down, in fact, he helped in the movie industry, he helped new video cameras get invented because he was too fast for some of the movies that he made. Literally they would play back the movie that he had just recorded, and there were skips in the film because his body moved so quickly. And Richard Feynman because if anyone's familiar with Richard Feynman the Physicist, if you're not, go look up Richard Feynman because he was probably the best example of someone who stayed seven years old with curiosity, and grew with knowledge. How do we stay curious, how do we stay that kid? That young girl, that young boy who was willing to stick a fork in the, you know, that wall exercise. How do we stay curious and gain knowledge? So for you, how do you continue the momentum? What parts of thinking strategically can you take away from today? I always suggest everyone use this stuff within 24 hours. Sit down with someone and get them to tell you where they're going, destination, or how they're working, direction. Play around with that "So That" process. Underneath, again, peeling the onion, underneath that, and then underneath that. Really the reason to unpack this and to go into the "So That" exercise, is to figure out who to invite to coffee next, or to take advantage of that awkward eye contact. If I look across the room at an event, if I look across the room in a board meeting, if I look across the room and lock in with somebody, we at least have a shot. "Hey my name's Jason, I'm working on this "so that I can get there. "Who do you know who could help?"

Class Materials

Free Bonus Materials

Think and Work Strategically Worksheet
Adobe Stock Get Started Download

Ratings and Reviews


Fantastic class! Highly recommend- Jason has such positive energy and enthusiasm, all his courses have been fun to watch and very informative.

Tetyana Borshch

A lot of inspirational exercises in a short time! Enjoyed it a lot and got few interesting insights.

Student Work