Monday, May 9, 2011

Strategy Deployment and Chess

By Pascal Dennis

What's the difference between Strategy Deployment and other planning & execution systems?

I get this question all the time.

SD is akin to playing chess. The left side of your strategy A3 summarizes your grasp of the current "chess position".

"I'm attacking on the King side, my opponent on the Queen side. My pawn structure is weak, but I have dangerous bishops, but his King is well protected. In order to checkmate him, I need to..."

As in chess, sports -- or life, grasping the situation requires both your rational mind & your gut feel.

Chess grandmasters do a lot of analysis -- but they also look at their opponent's face & body language, and take in the atmosphere in the tournament hall...

The right side of your paper summarizes your plan based on that deep intuitive understanding.

"I need to slow down his Queen side attack by....and shore up my weak pawns by doing....Then I can break through on the King side by..."
How do we gain that deep understanding? By going to see, running experiments and reflecting deeply on results, by PDCA in other words.

Otherwise, strategy devolves into "wood-pushing" -- same old dull moves & results.

The challenge and joy of Strategy Deployment is in:

1) Clearing the fog so you can see the chessboard,

2) Keeping it clear (with visual management and other techniques) so that you can assess the effect of your  moves,

3) Maintaining focus despite a strategy's long cycle time (1 year plus),

4) Learning from what happens -- and sharing that learning, and

5) Locking in the process so it becomes "no big deal"

Not easy, but if it were, Strategy Deployment wouldn't be a killer app...

1 comment:

  1. Great analogy Pascal. Chess involves deep practice which allows us to see patterns and develops the intition you talked about.
    Deep practice means we go through the PDCA loop quickly by reflecting and thereby learning after every move.
    Rapid PDCA cycles and learning are key to Strategy in business as well.