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Thinking Tactics

Individuals who learn by means of thinking tactics work things out by themselves. They recall the past for similar or contrasting situations. They imagine the future and play out the “What if . . .” in their mind’s eye. They gather information from books and reports so that they know the facts.

An example of an effective use of thinking tactics: Robert, an account manager in a medium-sized advertising firm, has been given the assignment of launching a new promotional campaign for a skin cream that claims to supersede all previous products for maintaining healthy skin in women. He must pull together the correct description of the product from medical experts, run market surveys to determine potential buyers, organize his staff around producing a focused and appealing series of promotional materials, and get buy-in from senior staff to support some risk-taking expenses. Never has he had to manage a project of such importance, and he must do it all within a year. Typically, the first thing that Robert does is daydream. “What would the packaging look like within a stream of creative text? How about if I try that combination of graphic designers and content people working in parallel rather than content first and design later—it worked well on that perfume project. What do the library and the Internet have to provide me with as far as previous experience with skin creams?” Robert does his internal and external research. Though his information gathering and speculation keep a few people waiting, he emerges from the process ready to start his internal lobbying and his external coordination in an informed way. Robert has learned the importance of doing his homework.


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