Changing conditions determines our current mission priorities. By Gary Gagliardi

“Goals are simply tools to focus your energy in positive directions, these can be changed as your priorities change, new one added, and others dropped." O. Carl Simonton

"You must predict the enemy to overpower him and win." Sun Tzu's The Art of War  10:3:3

Situation: What motivates people changes over time. The goals and values inside our heads shift priorities depending our situation. The problem is that the complex array of desires driving us changes from moment to moment.

The problem is that we cannot predict people's behavior unless we understand what is motivating them at the moment. We cannot depend on our alliance or know what to expect from our opponents unless we know what they want.  Most partnerships fall apart because interests diverge over time.

Opportunity: As the core of a strategic position, our Mission as a whole is the most enduring part of our positions (1.6 Mission Values). The science of strategy gives us an advantage over most people. We start by knowing the general hierarchy of their motivations. While the specific order of items on this list can change from moment to moment, the list itself changes very slowly.

This hierarchy also tell us generally how the five different types of motivations lasts over time (1.6.2 Types of Motivations).  This gives us a critical head start in terms of predicting the choices that people will make. We combine this understanding with another key aspect of our strategic model, knowing how changing conditions affect positions (1.4.1 Climate Shift).

Strategy:  There are many different levels to Mission. Each person has their own, private constellation of values and desires within a general framework.  In everyday life, we can think of some of our goals as shorter-term and others as longer-term, but we base much of our interaction with others upon knowing which of their motivations we can predict and which we cannot.

  1. The priorities of our mission change as conditions change. This include both conditions in the external environment (1.4 The External Environment) and conditions within a person or organization (1.5 Internal Elements).
  2. Both predictable and unpredictable changes in conditions affect motives. This means some changes in priorities will be predictable but others will not.  (2.3.2 Unpredictability).
  3. The most regular changes in priorities come from our cycle of internal needs and appetites. There is a natural cycle of our competing desires. The lowest level of motivations are the most temporary because know what is required and can we take action to address them (1.8.3 Cycle Time).
  4. Other predictable changes are linked to external cycles of climate. The external environment can also be predictable in its effect upon our priorities. We categorize these changes under climate, both the physical, social, and business climate  (1.4.1 Climate Shift).
  5. These changes are predictable because they are linked to the external passage of time. Whether we are looking at ourselves or others, we can understand that at certain times of day or year, we need to address different sets of needs (3.1.6 Time Limitations). 
  6. Unpredictable, non-cyclic internal and external events also affect priorities. These events can offer us either unexpected opportunities or unexpected problems. In either case, we must change our immediate priorities in order to address them (3.2 Opportunity Creation).
  7. Knowing the events affecting others gives us insight into their current priorities. When we cannot predict changes in priorities, we must immediately adapt our viewpoint based on our knowledge of events. People cannot do everything at once and must change their priorities in order to address events (3.1.1 Resource Limitations).

Illustration:  Let us look at some simple examples of how priorities change in each of these categories.

  1. The priorities of our mission change as conditions change. No matter how much more important our professional goals are over the long term, we must take time every day to eat and sleep to address our physical needs.
  2. Both predictable and unpredictable changes in conditions affect motives. We can predict when we will get sleepy but not when we will get ill.
  3. The most regular changes in priorities come from our cycle of internal needs and appetites.  We will get hungry every day and sleepy every night.
  4. Other predictable changes are linked to external cycles in the climate. For example, most of us work on economic and professional needs during the day because that is when we traditionally do business. Our emotion mission is more often addressed in the evening or on weekends. During summer we take vacation.  Certain business climate changes, such as Christmas shopping, are also predictable.  At tax time, we are going to have to pay. 
  5. These changes are predictable because they are linked to the external passage of time. Day and night, winter and summer, taxes, and human aging are all predictable.
  6. Unpredictable, non-cyclic internal and external events also affect priorities. We can get sick. An economic collapse in an industry can arise.
  7. Knowing the events affecting others gives us insight into their current priorities. If we know someone has lost a lot of money, we can expect that they will focus more on activities relating to immediately raising money.

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