"Greatness is a road leading towards the unknown." Charles de Gaulle
What is the value of establishing a given position in someone’s mind? We can perhaps know the value of winning a specific job position, but the value of improving our positions in the minds of others is usually more abstract. Most of our moves to improve our position are incremental. What is the value of our bosses having a slightly better opinion of us today than they did yesterday? What is the value of our customers being a little more satisfied today than yesterday? What is the value of improving our spouses’ or children’s opinion of us? What is the value of ourselves feeling a little better about our lives today than yesterday?
These questions are meaningless if we think about them in purely economic terms. Every move has a physical cost. Can we balance the costs in time, money, and effort for making a move against the value returned? The problem is that the value is, at least initially, purely psychological not economic. There may or may not be economic returns at some future time, but we move forward without any future balance sheet in mind. If our goals are always materialistic, all our moves tit-for-tat no one is going to have a very good opinion of us.
Strategic values cannot be calculated in purely economic terms or in purely logical terms. As I have said before, the calculation can only be made in our guts. It uses the ethical framework in which we frame our world. We must share the same framework as those with whom we are trying to develop relationships. We judge how we feel about our positions in the minds of others. They judge how they feel about us. We must balance how we feel about the sacrifices we make against how we feel about our positions. How we see ourselves is no small thing. What we choose to attempt is largely based on our own self-images.