In strategy, how you move is the second most important thing

One of the most focused on elements of Strategy is how you move aka “game play”. But movement, like many things, can’t exist in a vacuum — movement can only exist in a space.

Game Play (Movement)
Game play relates to the steps we need to take in order to progress, as well as our skill in taking these steps. Game play often comes up when you’re trying to figure out “how-to” do something.

  1. How do I win at Chess?
  2. How do I manage a project?
  3. How do I develop my career?
  4. How do I transform my business?

Space refers to the context in which game play happens (or in which moves will be made) and it’s more likely you’ll hear it described as “Market Conditions”, “Business Climate”, “Social Setting”, “Political Environment”, etc.

In the context of movement, space represents our situation and without situational awareness movement becomes harder:

  • Challenging to move with the right sense of urgency
  • Acting too soon
  • Making the move incorrectly
  • Making the wrong move

To emphasise this, I’ve taken the same 4 questions I listed earlier and repositioned them with more context (Space):

  1. I’ve been playing chess for years and I’m playing a complete beginner tomorrow, how do I win?
  2. I have an App Idea, there are some similar apps out there, and some are doing quite well, mine has some unique features and relative improvements but the other authors have strong social platforms — large online following or email lists — how do I make my app successful?
  3. Key stakeholders are expecting all of our features to be delivered “Big Bang” in one release, and it’s unclear whether they’d be willing to shift their mindset to a phased delivery, how do I manage this situation and this project?
  4. I’ve seen people getting layed off over the past few years, our leaders are resistent to changing some of our traditional offerings which are quickly becoming dated, how should I grow my career?

Firstly, the questions are elevated to a new level when environmental context is injected into them, and OK, secondly this seems pretty obvious. But often, faced with complex decisions, we often revert to doing what we normally do, instead of stepping back and asking questions about the space we’re moving in.

Parting questions:

How do you make sure you’re not making decisions in a vacuum today? Or how do you come up with a strategy to step back and see the space you’re about to move in? 😉

Leave a comment below, I’d love to hear from you.