Ohmae's Key success factors LO11816

Kent Myers (myersk@us.net)
Sat, 11 Jan 1997 11:41:42 -0500

Replying to LO11795 --

Virginia Shafer points out that, for those on a tight schedule, the
'strategy of domination' is very popular. I think of KSF as naive
simplification, but domination isn't so naive.

An old professor uses a chess analogy. There is combinatorial play, and
positional play. A combinatorial player picks a weakness and drives it,
hoping to keep initiative long enough to fatally injure the opponent.
That's all there was for centuries, and it is in fact how most people
should play, since to do anything else takes more ability. Positional
play is a recent concept. There are in fact quantitative ways of
evaluating the strength of your position. A master of positional play may
even sacrifice for better position, without anticipating any particular
combination. Few players do this, and it isn't needed at lower levels of
play. Also, it is only used as mid-game.

If we think of business as a finite game (3 years and move to a new game),
then we use combinatorial play. We bet the company and will either gain
the initiative or not. Or, if we think of business as an infinite game,
then we are in perpetual mid-game, and we have the option of positional
play or combinatorial play. Perhaps combinatorial play is always
necessary as a product strategy, and you hope to avoid betting the
company. Positional play is a kind of systems thinking, but more of the
indeterministic kind that doesn't presume to know the series of moves that
will create global success, only the position from which threats can be
repulsed and combinations launched. You don't know beforehand whether you
will play offensively or defensively.

(I hope I don't start any conversation about chess. Chess quickly loses
its value as an analogue.)


Kent Myers myersk@us.net

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