Monday, October 3, 2011

Read the Big Tangible Picture and Decide


Click here for an interesting story from Malcolm Gladwell of the New Yorker on how to combat the Goliath.

Ranadive, the coach of the high school team, solved his problem of playing against teams of physically-talented individuals by comprehending the configuration of his Big Tangible Picture (the basketball court, the physical prowess and skills of his teams, etc.) His solution originated from his understanding of how everything is connected in terms of the configuration of the terrain, the leadership and the logistics. Through this grand understanding, he was able to devise a simple and balanced strategy of pressing, stealing and scoring by layups.

However, no Big Tangible Picture stays constant.

Ranadive's team finally lost in the finals due to their inability to adjust to the new situation.

Ruminations from Compass Desk
Based on the article, Ranadive should have seen it coming. He should have realized that nothing stays constant. The status and the level of a competitive encounter usually determines how formidable an competitor is.

In terms of macro strategy development, the reliance on a particular operational mean is not always a good idea. When a macro variable abruptly changes, the strategist must have the tools and the tactics to adjust to it.

In terms of tactical options, Ranadive's could have run a 1-3-1 half court trap or a 1-2-2 trap from the mid-section of the opposition's court to pressure the pass. If Ranadive's team scored, they would run trap defense #1. If they did not score, their alternative would be running defense #2. Whenever the second or the third squad was deployed, the coach could have called for a different type of defense that the current opposition was not prepared for.

He could have accepted the possibility of fouling the players with his second stringers while maintaining their approach of pressing. Then, using the first stringers against the opposition's second stringers or putting them in play in the last six min of each halves. ... There were so many tactical moves that Randive could have deployed. Whether his team was prepared to implement it, is a different story.

There are not many people who are used to thinking in terms of contingency assessment and planning during real time. ... They are usually over-focused on achieving peak efficiency repeatedly while avoiding the importance of preparing for a worst case scenario. During an encounter with "risky" uncertainty, these non-strategists have a tendency of hoping something might happen. As some of us know, change is not a strategy. Hope is not a destination.

Compass Rule
To prevail in an extreme competitive situation, one must use their entire toolbox of implements.

Side note: We were going to use the principles of our Compass process (Portions of our process are based on the Seven Military Classics of Ancient China and the Sun Bin's strategy classic) to present more strategic points. However, we are saving it for our book.

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