The Strategist's Brain
and the tasks that make it tick
Once in awhile you'll breeze through a used bookstore and find a gem. Worth much more than the pennies you put down to pay for the book.
I came across this dusty little paperback titled "Brains," written (and drawn) in 1987 by Peter Kagel. It's a simple concept. Kagel drew outlines of brains. Then, depending on the profession (i.e., bartenders, baseball players, contractors, etc.) he would divvy up the mind into the key tasks associated. It's mostly a joke. For example, according to his mapping, a doctor's left brain is divided into two parts, one for "arrogance" and one for "greed."
But there are little flashes of honesty in the bin alongside the laughs. When listing out the characteristics that define an "executive's brain," he includes "market share," "acquire latest electronic gadgets," and "CYA memos," all of which would be recognizable in today's herd of CEOs even though the book was written well over three decades ago.
As jokey as the "general's brain" gets, with entries like "spit shine" and "ramrod posture even when sleeping" - it's also telling. "Distrust of other services" may be a little less of a problem today compared to the late-eighties, but it's still a problem. Or "prospective job with defense contractor." If anything that's gone up from then.
I wondered what it would look like to take a real poke at what the modern strategist's brain might look like. How might we divide it up into the tasks associated with the practice of modern strategy.