Did you ever learn to play chess? Not the most popular game for this century when we move at the speed of light. However, it is a vital game for anyone who runs a business.
Whether you formally know where to position a knight or a pawn on a board, you do this with employees and customers all the time.
What are the key elements of working to win? Interestingly, they model the personal development model of success. No surprise, we take ourselves with us wherever we go. The more we know about our behavior, the better we are in strategic design. Here are the 3 key elements to consider in the chess game of work and the even bigger chess game of life:
Physical strategy: You are an instrument that fits into a larger orchestra group. So, position yourself to be heard in the most appropriate way. In meetings don't just plop yourself in a vacant chair; get there early and wait until you see the best seat at the table and then sit there. It may be caddy corner from the boss or facilitator, or perhaps next to a champion of your work, or maybe next to your seeming "enemy". Remember the old saying "Keep your friends close and your enemies closer!
Emotional strategy: Careful what you say. Even more important is when you say it. Back to the orchestra metaphor: the best conductors are super respected because of their sensitive and perfect timing. So pay attention to when you speak up or when you choose to remain silent. The power of the spoken word and the power of silence are a major part of strategic intent.
Mental strategy: Keep the end in sight even when the end is no where in sight. Ask yourself over and over what you want as an outcome. See it, hear it, feel it, and keep it in the forefront of your thoughts as you go where you want to go. However, and this is a big however, do not be attached to the outcome. Know that the way to the moon was not in a straight line adjustments were continuously made with the end point as the win.
It is critical for you to know that all strategy is about people. As human beings we filter information through our senses and our senses are tied to our emotions. There is no other way. Charts and statistics can only take you so far. Without understanding the rest of strategy you will never be able to have the satisfaction of saying "check mate" to show your strong ability to win and win big.
One of the best gifts I was given as a teenager was a book that was required reading titled "How to Lie with Statistics". It was then I truly knew that no matter how much I wanted to believe in a safe, clear, secure, and bottom line world of numbers that don't lie I realized that was nave. So, early I learned that the ones putting the numbers down on the paper are human beings who all see things through their own filters and in my leadership development I realized that the scary, confusing, complex world of emotions would always be a major factor in making strategy work.