I find planning more like a chess game. Why? Because chess has become part of the everyday language of Business executives: we checkmate our opponents/ we are just pawns in a game/ we think three moves ahead. Yes predicting the market and taking steps accordingly is the key to sustainable growth. This also includes predicting the competitor’s strategies.
In fact, chess is a good metaphor for business competition because it is so related to the current business environment which is fiercely competitive. Indeed chess is a violent sport, and when you confront your opponent, you have to crush his or her ego – which is what really hurts the most in business. The moves you can play in chess and business are very large, as with just 3 opening moves there are 9 million possible positions. For the comparison of business and chess think about how many possibilities are there in business or start-ups for fixing the prices of the product, amount of products, strategies, marketing.
When I was studying for my MBA degree at Cranfield School Management, I learnt a vital advice from one of my American colleagues – “You keep your friend close to you but you keep your enemies next to your chest”. Apparently this is the American way of doing business. And yes I do that too, especially when the trust with business partners is broken, you just have to predict every single step your opponent will take.
Never underestimate your opponent, always assume that your opponent will see through your strategy and will be ready with a counter plan. Islamic Social Enterprise and other organizations should also make such an effort on whatever they do, planning ahead assuming that they are totally exposed, but still accomplish the task by creating an atmosphere of confusion to cover their tracks.
Also, through hesitations and pauses, you may communicate to your competitor that you are uncertain or just not ready. Therefore, always be psychologically ready for your competitor’s strategy and game play, he or she may be going for a disruptive strategy which may wipe you out. “So be on the look out always and never assume you are safe.”
Conclusion: Always look at the bigger picture and plan accordingly.