Monday, November 21, 2011

Gary Kasparov and the Breakfast of Champions

By Pascal Dennis

Chess is arguably our greatest strategy game.

More books have been written about than for all other games combined.

Chess has infused our language: checkmate, stalemate, opening phase, end game, gambit...

Chess has such a strong hold on the human mind that chess champions are notoriously eccentric.

(Check out the recent, excellent documentary called Bobby Fischer vs. The Rest of the World)

Gary Kasparov, the greatest chess player of them all, is the exception.

After retiring in 2005, he has devoted himself to exposing Vladimir Putin's corrupt regime, and to leading Russia's fledgling pro-democracy forces.

He is also successful entrepreneur and author, and is happily married.

So his recent book about chess and business strategy is especially important.

It's called How Life Imitates Chess: Making the Right Moves - from the Board to the Boardroom.
Kasparov's insights into excellence are especially interesting.

What makes a champion?

Frequent, frank - even ruthless - reflection and self-assessment, Kasparov tells us.

Indeed, if we think of elite performers across a range of endeavors - Steve Jobs, Jack Welch, Michael Jordan, Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods (pre-implosion), Yoyo Ma, Yitzhak Perlman come to mind - we see the same pattern.

What's this got to do with you?

The Lean Business System is about elite performance.

It's best practitioners - Toyota, General Electric, Proctor & Gamble, United Technologies, Alcoa, Danaher and the like - ruthlessly self-assess, and adjust based on what they see.

Our improvement kata - tip of the hat to my pal, Mike Rother, is our driving force.

Here at Lean Pathways we've boiled the kata down - and call it Four-Step-Problem-Solving.

(There are others. I'm not into theology - pick a good one & get going...)

We supplement our kata with Brain Booster Pocket Cards and Apps.

But it's all about reflection and adjustment thereby - the Breakfast of Champions.

More about Kasparov in future blogs.

Sayonara ya'll.



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