The One Game to Improve Your Strategy Skills

Posted: Updated:
Dan Arens is an Indiana-based business growth advisor. Dan Arens is an Indiana-based business growth advisor.

The decade of the 1970s was not only a tumultuous time for America, it was also a time of opportunity for Japanese automakers. The strategies they employed were taken directly from the game of games for strategists. It is also known as the game of kings.

The game of chess has been around for ages. It is a game of strategy and skill that helps players with their critical decision making skills. Japanese automakers knew they had a formidable foe in the American automakers, back in the early-1970’s.

As Dr. Donna Thomas-Rodgers recently conveyed in an article on the game of chess, "knowing there was no way to dominate the American market through profit, Japanese car makers launched an attack straight from a chess player's manual." Thomas-Rodgers goes on to say "utilizing the strategies of having multiple advantages as well as the willingness to sacrifice, the Japanese were content to sacrifice profits in order to gain market share." As history has shown, their strategy paid off at a time when American car companies were still selling gas guzzlers and inflation was causing the sticker prices to be trending up, not down. They were caught flat-footed, consistently losing market share as the higher gas mileage and cheaper Japanese cars increased their market penetration.

Many times, chess is associated with military strategies and tactics. In reality, it is a game of opposition or competition, where one player ends up winning because they had a better plan of action than their opponent. It is that simple. Getting there, however, is where strategy and intrigue come into play.

The key element of strategy in chess relates to planning. Not just planning the current move, but trying to look ahead several moves in order to figure out what might happen in the future. The possible number of moves are many, but the game forces the player to narrow down their field of choices and pick the best one under the current set of circumstances.

Strategy involves making choices. So does chess. The game provides the player with many different opportunities to make a myriad of choices. Just like in the business world, sometimes there are immediate consequences and sometimes the impact of those choices is felt later.

Author Sean Hampton-Cole has written about fifty lessons that the game of chess teaches people about living strategically. Here are some lessons that relate to business growth:

  • Competitive Advantage - "If you already have it, maintain it. If you don't have it, seize it."
  • Be Pro-Active Not Reactive - "If you wait around for someone else to make a decision for you, they will... and you probably won't like how it turns out."
  • Do Not Always Stay with the Script - "A little bit of creativity and lateral thinking can often take you to new heights."
  • Do Not Ignore the Competition - "We often get so absorbed in our own games and machinations that we ignore what is going on around us. Be aware of threats and alert to opportunities."
  • Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Lose - "Cut your losses. Sometimes you are going to lose. Try to minimize your losses and move on."
  • You might have to Sacrifice for Position - "Sometimes even the greatest material sacrifice can result in a winning position later on."
  • Multiple Alternatives - "Have a Plan B. And a Plan C. If none of those work, you're probably doomed."
  • Adapt - "Be flexible. It seldom goes the way you planned- adjust and continue."
  • Keep Active - "Never rest on your laurels. Keep thinking, looking for new opportunities and trying to generate new ideas."
  • Identify Your Alternatives - "Narrow down your choices. And then decide. Take your time, but settle on one plan of action... and then do it!"
  • Consider the Entire Landscape - "Always consider the whole board when deciding on a move: decisions made with too narrow a focus are often bad."

In order to "win" in business, your company needs to be better at something than your competition. Business owners and managers are not born being able to develop and implement a strategy. Strategic planning must be learned by doing it over and over again. In many respects, business strategy is similar to chess, which is similar to a militaristic battle of generals. In the game, as in business, however, usually it is not a game of life and death, but a battle of wits. Whether the intent is to develop your critical decision making skills, improve your concentration, or fine tune your ability to develop various scenarios, chess has been THE game to learn in the world for centuries.

Dan Arens is an Indiana-based business growth advisor.

  • Perspectives

    • #MeToo, Bullying And What We All Can Do Now

      Indeed, it is an interesting time with so much continuing to come out in Hollywood, the media, other industries, and even our state government related to the sexual harassment of women - women who have remained silent for years. Like those women, I too have been harassed in various ways over the course of my career, even in recent years - and yes, even in top leadership roles. The headline about my departure or the email citing that I was moving on never fully told the real story.

    More

Subscribe

Name:
Company Name:
Email:
Confirm Email:
HTML
INside Edge
Morning Briefing
BigWigs & New Gigs
Life Sciences Indiana
Indiana Connections
INPower
Subscribe
Unsubscribe

Events



  • Most Popular Stories

    • U.S. Steel 'Renaissance' Spurs $750M Gary Works Investment

      Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steel Corp. (NYSE: X) has announced a $750 million investment in its Gary Works operations. The company says the funds are part of a $2 billion asset revitalization effort that will take place over the next five years. Last year, U.S. Steel detailed plans that involved pumping $35 million into Gary Works, which followed the $23 million first phase of its Hot Strip Mill Restoration Plan. The latest investment, the Indiana Economic Development Corp. says...

    • Geovani Bonilla

      IU Health Plans Names VP

      Geovani Bonilla has joined Indiana University Health Plans as vice president of medical operations. He previously served as director of utilization management for Johns Hopkins Healthcare.

    • Salesforce Begins Pathfinder, Reorganization Efforts

      Salesforce.com Inc. (NYSE: CRM) is underway with the first cohort of its Pathfinder Training Program that is part of the tech giant's ongoing Indianapolis growth. The company is partnering with Deloitte to provide business and technical training to Ivy Tech Community College students and Hoosier veterans looking to become Salesforce administrators and developers. The program comes as the company realigns its Marketing Cloud organization. In a statement, Salesforce says it...

    • Fort Wayne Radio Icon Butcher Passes Away

      A fixture in the Fort Wayne radio scene has passed away. Charly Butcher spent more than 30 years in Fort Wayne radio with a successful morning show on WMEE-FM and, most recently, as host of "Fort Wayne's Morning News" on WOWO radio. Butcher was 61. Butcher was part of WMEE's popular "Those Two Guys In The Morning" show with Tony Richards in the 1980s. He joined WOWO in the mid-2000s as host of "Fort Wayne's Morning News With Charly Butcher."

    • Hoosier Schools Among 'Best Colleges in America'

      Nearly two dozen Hoosier institutions are included in MONEY magazine's rankings of the Best Colleges in America. More than 700 schools are on the list, which was determined by a number of factors in three categories, including quality of education, affordability, and outcomes.