Posted on 13th April 2021
This book written by Walter Tevis is incredible and now a major Netflix drama. You do not really need to understand Chess to enjoy it, and to be honest it’s more about the character Beth Harmon fighting her personal demons.
So, what is the Queen’s Gambit?
The objective of the queen’s gambit is to temporarily sacrifice a pawn to gain control of the centre of the board. That is it, nothing less or nothing more.
Well, how do we compare this with our business life or even our personal life. Have you ever sacrificed something to gain an advantage or improve your position?
Have you ever given up a position to progress further in your life?
I can give you countless analogies of playing chess and how it translates into your life and I’m sure you’ll agree there will be many similarities.
I play chess to exercise my mind, call it mindfulness if you will. It focuses my mind on forward thinking and outcomes. When we strategize, we are thinking ahead, working out what could be and how to get there.
This of course requires planning, visualisation, and the desire to win or succeed at whatever you are doing. What is interesting is, chess players understand that if they lose a game, they will not see it as a loss or that they are a failure. They use the experience to learn from their mistakes, so as they do not do it again, giving them a better chance of success the next time.
It does not matter if you are a large, medium or small business, strategizing plays an important role.
How good are you at strategizing, and does your strategy align with your values and purpose?
Being one step ahead of your opponent is vitally important, as is the timing to attack or defend your position.
Sometimes we send our salespeople out to attack on a full-frontal basis, but is this necessarily the right move, could they get picked off easily in their assault?
Is there an alternative move, should we attack from the flanks, weakening their defence, or should we barricade ourselves in and wait for the onslaught, defending with all our might and then launching a counterattack?
This does not just apply to business owners but anyone who runs a department or is responsible for a team, the ground rules for engagement are the same and that is having a strategy.
The world is shrinking, and the competition is literally on our doorstep through the advent of the internet, we need to be smarter, we need to hold back from reacting on a knee jerk reaction. How about pausing, thinking, and planning out our outcome which is what we want. Only then can we measure the success of our plan.
If what you are doing is not working, are you frightened to explore alternatives?
Recently, I had a meeting with my web designer to discuss how we can steer more traffic to my website. To do this, you must have a plan, execute, and then measure the outcome.
Now, I’m not an expert in SEO (search engine optimisation) or how to drive traffic to my website, but what I do know is I need someone that knows a lot more than I do, to help me.
The help is not just about driving traffic to my website, it is about analysing the data and making those all-important decisions to update, change or tweak what I’m doing.
So if what you are doing is not working, are you frightened to explore alternatives?
By the same token are you making those changes too quickly not giving what you have implemented a chance to work?
Think several moves ahead
Chess is all about having a strategy, it is thought provoking, it’s exciting and it exercises the mind to think ahead, using what if statements, e.g. If they make a move there, I will move here to counter their move. If they take my pawn, I will take their bishop which is now exposed and vulnerable, and so on, until you capture their King.
I'm not suggesting you should capture your competition, what I am saying is, if you are not already doing so, think several moves ahead, be assertive and pragmatic with any changes you need to make to receive the outcome you want.
Finally, what is your Queen's Gambit, and what sacrifices are you willing to make?
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