Strategic/Tactical Work- The E-myth Contractor

Michael Gerber from his book, “The E-Myth Contractor” differentiates work as either strategic or tactical. He states that tactical work is the every day tasks of running a contracting business, like: digging a ditch, driving a truck, pouring concrete, answering the phones, paying the bills, filing contracts, bidding and estimating jobs, etc.

Gerber claims that when a Contractor is doing strategic work when he asks the following questions:

  • Why am I a Contractor?
  • What will my business look like when it’s done?
  • What must my business look, act, and feel like in order for it to compete successfully?
  • What are the key indicators of my business?

The key isn’t necessarily the asking of the specific question as much as it is the Contractor questioning himself with significant questions. No one else can do the strategic work of defining the business.

Here is the fundamental differences about strategic and tactile work. Tactile work is all about the answers. It’s all about your skill, what you know, and your history of success. It’s about the work that you are absolutely confident you can do, …blindfolded even. However, strategic work is all about daring to ask the hard soul searching questions. It’s all about who you can become, the stretch, the reach, the climb. It is the vision and purpose that is the very life of the company. Like a body, without a spirit, is dead; so a tactile company, without strategic-work is dead. Sometimes a company is dead long before the owners even realize it.

Just because I said that strategic work is about the questions doesn’t mean that strategic work has no answers. Contractors who commonly ask Strategic Questions know that once such a question has been asked, they’re already on their way to envisioning the answer. You can’t find the right answer without asking the right question (Michael Gerber, The E-Myth Contractor pg. 100-103).

M. Gerber is a very successful entrepreneur, who has discovered and applied certain truths, and have received the blessings from doing so. However, he is clueless about how much more exists. Little did M. Gerber know how many more of these principles there are.

You see, …all truth is circumscribed into one great whole. Not only does the truth apply to business success, but life success as well. The subject matter of this entire blog has always been -and will always be- to call all who have ears to hear and a heart that will understand to seriously and consistently study the scriptures, for the purpose of knowing the mind and will of God concerning us, both individually and collectively. It is the serious and constant study of the scriptures that is the “strategic work.” Gerber states that when a Contractor fails to do the strategic work, they constantly work day after day, from job to job, without progressing, until time is up and you die. I would add that this is true about life when we fail to do the strategic work of learning the mind and will of God. Elder Packer said that if you have given your child the arts, education, finances, athletics, and worldly achievement, but have failed to give them a testimony, you have given them little.

All failure in relationships within a business, community, family, or marriage is attributed to a failure in this strategic work of knowing the mind and will of God. When the saints aligned with the mind and will of God, they prospered. When they did not, they dwindled in unbelief, until they were utterly waisted and lost their lands of inheritance. Knowing the mind and will of God is the key to the unification of the heart and the mind, and to the building of Zion. The success or failure of your relationships have direct correlation to the degree of your knowing God and Christ.

John 17:3

“3. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”

Gerber states that a Contractor that does the strategic work lives with “intention.” Put in terms of the benefits of the strategic work of studying the word, the Lord promises that all who do so is likened unto a wise man who builds his house upon a rock. When the rains come, the floods come and the winds blow and beat upon the house, his house will not fail/fall, for it was built upon a rock. Those who get caught up in the tactical work is likened to the foolish man who built his house upon the sand, and the rains come, the floods come and the winds blow and beat upon the house; and it fell, and great was the fall of it (3 Nephi 14:25-27).

There is no coincidence that all things were created first spiritually (strategic) and then physically (tactical). We were given a purpose before we came to earth. Then why not live every day with purpose, by reconnecting to the heavens to learn the mind and will of God concerning us as individuals? Why not ask the questions about the intention of God regarding the scriptures, instead of taking someone else’s word for it? Why not do the strategic work and ask, or knock? Ask and it shall be given, knock and it shall be opened unto you, is what Christ promises. However, Nephi reminds us that the reason why we aren’t given is because we “…ask not, neither do we knock.” (2 Nephi 32:3-4).

Nephi is telling us that we are failing to do the strategic work of life. We do not ask God to know Him. For that reason we are busy, busy, busy, doing it, doing it, doing it, and cannot see that we are the lab rats/hamsters in the wheel running in place, and going nowhere. If this describes us, then we are the saints that will vainly claim, “…have we not done miracles in thy name, cast out devils in thy name?” And Christ will respond saying, “…depart from me, for ye never knew me.”

Modern day revelation calls this failure to seriously do the strategic work of studying the word as “condemnation.” Condemnation and damnation are two words that communicate a stop in forward movement or progression, like a dam stops the forward movement of water. However, condemnation and damnation can be removed through repentance, so that the condemned or damned can continue their eternal progression, if we obey Christ’s prescription.

D&C 84:54-58

“54. And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received-

55. Which vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation.

56. And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all.

57. And thy shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according the that which I have written-

58. That they may bring forth fruit meet for their Father’s kingdom; otherwise there remaineth a scourge and judgment to be poured out upon the children of Zion.”


President Ezra Taft Benson repeated this condemnation and so did President Gordon B. Hinckley, just before he died. So this warning is still targeted at the saints of our day just as it was in the day of the original revelation.

Tactical work often consumes the majority of our time. Contractors also find themselves consumed by the everyday work of each project, that little time is spent on the marketing, the finances, the processes, the documentation, the business plan or the strategizing of the business. Gerber says that if Tactical Work consumes you, then:

  • You’re always reacting to something outside of you (constantly putting out fires)
  • Your business runs you; you don’t run it
  • The job runs you; you don’t run it
  • Your Sub-Contractors run you; you don’t run them
  • Your life runs you; you don’t run it

He says, “You must understand that the more Strategic Work you do, the more intentional your business, your jobs, and your life become. Intention is the bi-product of Strategic Work.”

In the church, we too suffer from focusing all our intention on the tactical work (the mindless check-listing of daily, weekly, and monthly activities), that we get caught up and must be commanded in all things (weekly reminders of statistics). Tactical mormonism is also the vain traditions of man, when disconnected from the strategic work. It is action void of purpose. It is what the Lord considers the work of a slothful and not a wise servant. Not that the individual tasks of the saints are bad, they just have no direction when the strategy is non-existent or vague. Once the direction is discovered through the study of the word, air is breathed into all strategic work, life is purposeful, waste is reduced, efficiency is maximized, and eternal life is the result of this true disciple of Christ.

The traditional idea that we must wait until the next life to enter into the presence of Christ, receive judgment, and be found worthy of an eternal promise, is false! The entire Book of Mormon is written to express that such a blessing is made available while in this life, while in the flesh. That is the entire message of the book, to return by way of an ascension. The two great commandments are all about an individual ascension, and then that individual helping his neighbor to ascend as well. That is why Christ said- upon these two commandments hang all the laws and the prophets. He said it a little differently int he book of Moses when He called it His work and glory. However, we must be willing to do the strategic work of asking, seeking, and knocking before He will give us the further light and knowledge by conversing with us through the veil.

We foolishly think of our relationship to Christ like a vending machine: If I put a specific amount of effort in, when it is enough, I will receive the blessings of exaltation that I paid for, or that I deserve. It is not our tactical works that save us. It is Christ that saves us. Christ is trying to teach us the strategic work that I am addressing. That is why we are supposed to search, ponder and pray, …so that we can know Christ, personally and intimately. When our actions are void of seeking out Christ, then all of our tactical efforts are looking beyond the mark- because Christ is the mark. Christ is the way. The words of Christ is the only strategic work that has any power to lead us to salvation. It is He that reaches down, knowing that you have given Him your heart and mind, and then He …changes it and makes your heart and mind one with His, …so that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually. It is not because of our tactical efforts. It is when we have done the strategic work and give our entire heart and mind to do things His way, that He can assist us in the transformation.

Mosiah 3:19

“19. For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of live, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.”


Ether 12:27

“27. And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.”

Christ does the changing. He said that His “…grace is sufficient…” and “…then will I make weak things become strong…” Christ is the one that does the heavy lifting. We are only required to do the strategic work of coming unto Christ by the study of His word. Then will our tactical work will have purpose. Then no one need remind you about what you must do. Any correction given becomes a welcomed opportunity for improvement. We are able to learn from the passerby. Revelation upon revelation will come and flow down to you as the dews from heaven.

I am convinced that a Contractor can inherit the things of this earth by properly adjusting his efforts to focus on the strategic work and then aligning his tactical work accordingly. Likewise a saint will inherit the kingdom of God if he focus’ on the strategic work of studying the sacred words of Christ and aligning with them in the daily tactical work of life.

2 Nephi 32:9

“9. But behold, I say unto you that ye must pray always, and not faint; that ye must not performa any thing unto the Lord save in the first place ye shall pray unto the Father in the name of Christ, that he will consecrate thy performance unto thee, that thy performance may be for the welfare of thy soul.”

Such a life will be filled with purpose, with the renewed breath of life, with energy, and with confidence. Then shall your confidence wax strong in the presence of God (D&C 121:45).


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