Chess and poker are games that are played by people all over the world, with different levels of ability. I believe that many organisations play similar games with their business.
Chess is a game of true strategy, where everything is visible to the opposition about the pieces and their positions on the board. In effect, nothing is hidden from your opponent except the strategy and competiveness which enable you to outmanoeuvre them.
Poker, on the other hand, is a game of instinct and bluff with no one having complete transparency as to the cards and how they will be dealt. Poker is a game of chance – despite what the top level players allege.
When the economy toughens we often see more organisations go to the wall, even though in reasonable trading conditions they survive and appear to be doing well.
Each day in the press you can read about organisations in the same industry sector, but one is doing well (employing more staff, recruiting a CPO, investing in new technology) and the other struggling to survive (failing to deliver technology, laying staff off, and shareholders moaning about returns).
Can you see the difference?
One organisation is spending to SAVE and strengthen the organisation by ensuring processes are in place and followed and that they have reliable organisational information at their fingertips to make informed decisions, while the other is floundering around laying people off and failing to think proactively and react quickly enough.
I hope the correlation between business and the games is starting to make sense.
Take the three examples that businesses, at a minimum, should be carrying out during tough times:
- Make the data held in back office solutions work for you and make sure you visualise this to help you make informed decisions. In today’s market it is easy to do this without taking years. Go from gut-based decision making to fact-based.
- Given increasing revenues is difficult (not impossible) in a downturn, then spend control in your organisation is critical to increase you bottom line. Get yourself a good procurement solution and a good procurement team to run it
- Remember to improve your customer relationships in tough times because your competitors will be hungry. If you don’t look after your customers someone else will! Look at ways of improving your relationships and build this into your CRM practices.
So are you being strategic or a risk taker?
Are you the chess player or the gambling poker player? It’s worth some thought!