Friday, February 25, 2011

Are You Making Chess Moves?

Do you play chess?  Do you revel in mapping out a strategy?  Are you perfectly even keeled about the fact that your strategy may mean sacrificing some of your resources for the greater good?  Can you look objectively at a situation, make your decision and set forth without getting bogged down by panic or anxiety?

Or is Twister more your thing?  Are you tickled when you allow the random spin of someone else determine if you're putting your left foot and right hand on yellow?  Can you keep your balance when successive spins seem to make you have to bend in ungodly ways so as to avoid falling?

What about your product?  If you're a chess player, you've a laser like master plan at tackling the competitive landscape while also addressing contingencies to capture more revenue, share, customers, etc.  If you're playing Twister, you're giving up your fate in the "invisible hand" of commerce/business gods.

So what makes you a business chess or business Twister player?  The answer lies in presumptuousness: whether you lack or have it in great amounts.


I was in a seminar the other day and the person leading it said that regardless of business or life, we were either driving our own plan or a part of someone else's plan with the obvious desirable situation being that we were the ones driving.  In animal terms, we're either hunting for our dinner or being hunted for someone else's.

When you're mapping or executing a plan (or strategy), it's based on the assumption that you've identified that you need something.  The mapping helps you figure out how you're going to get that something and the execution is the actual task of getting it.  The underlying work and foundation of both the mapping and execution is based on a lack of presumption.

What do I mean by this?  Your need and how you meet the need always has an element of uncertainty behind it.  You don't presume that you'll always meet the need and you don't presume that your first attempt to meeting the need will be successful.  You don't presume customers will be dying to do business with you.  And you don't presume the first time you introduce yourself to someone, you'll be successful at winning business.  You have the objective, the vision, the desire and the energy but neither of those things are 100% guarantees.  Just as in chess, you may have the end goal in sight and an execution plan, but it doesn't mean you'll achieve a checkmate!

If you're making stuff up as you go (and please don't confuse this with bootstrapping) on your path to greatness, you think you have an end goal in mind but you really don't.  The only thing you're really doing is making it to the next day.  This approach is based on an overabundance of presumption.

What do I mean?  When you're playing business Twister, you don't have a formal roadmap.  You may be presuming that your existence alone is enough to satisfy your customers and prospects.  You're presuming that your natural smarts, your good looks, your clever product should be enough to entice and to win business.  But it's not that simple.  There are a host of things you have to do.  For one, you've got to build relationships before anyone will seriously consider you.  Actually, let me quote Valeria Maltoni here from an awesome post I read just this morning:

"What works on LinkedIn, as in real life, are personal introductions. The act of shaking someone's hand, looking them in the eye, taking in the non verbals within the context where you are, including the common contact, bind you in ways a social graph can only demonstrate *after* that connection is established."

Do you think the road to success is paved by a lack of presumptuousness?  I'd love to hear your thoughts.  A special thank you to Heidi Cohen for the free blog titles as part of #BloggerLove month!

Parissa Behnia
Idea Chef

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for participating in the BloggerLove contest. I love that you also included Twister. Happy marketing, Heidi Cohen