Taking risks is part of life, business, war, love and basically anything worth doing. To mitigate risks, we take measures to protect against the actual risk, hiring the best candidate possible, flying with a better company, buying from a highly specialized company and so forth.
But what happens when all your risks are realized? Never giving up, not backing down and thinking out of the box are ways of thinking that I was brought up with and experienced in my life and military service as a soldier, captain, and command operations officer.
Playing a backgammon game with my 16 yr old daughter, I took a sequence of risks that could have potentially placed me in a very good position. But what happened was that every risk I took realized and placed me in a very vulnerable position. My daughter was sure that the game was hers. The question was: could I turn the risk that had materialized into an advantage? My strategy was to aggressively get pieces on her side of the board and instead of retreating into my side of the board I was trying to get as many pieces into her side. She was baffled, “why are you not trying to get your pieces out?” She asked. It my strategy now, I said. The only chance I have of not losing miserably is to position my self in control of your side of the board. In parallel my plan was to close my side of the board and then succeed in taking one of her pieces out, this needed an element of luck which I helped by dispersing my pieces so that I had better chances of “falling” on hers.
In the end, I won the game by exactly 1 piece!
I think that the lesson here for many situations in life can be first not to fear taking risks, that is usually the only way of getting an edge on competition and situations. If you do and things don’t go the way you planned, and the risks realize themselves, don’t panic. Breath and plan a strategy (hopefully you do this before they happen, as a backup plan) to get yourself out of the situation, use all the possible means to turn the odds in your favor. Thinking about the structured set of events and processes that can lead to regaining control over what you are trying to do.
In business we usually take fewer risks that are left to pure chance like in backgammon, but the same concepts can be applied.
What is the strategy that can bring me to a favorable position over my competition?
My strategy was to control the board, that meant getting many pieces into her side and dispersing them in a way that gave me an advantage and did not let her close her side of the board.
What disadvantage can be used as an advantage?
If I was able to get many pieces into her side, I could disrupt her game and effectively not let her win.
What is the single most important event that can turn the scales?
To close off my side and take out one of her pieces. When this happened, I was able to move all of my 7 pieces into my side before she could get back in the game.
Always be lucky!
At the end everything we do needs an element of luck. At the end I won by one piece that was 1 double through away of losing, so always be humble, think positive and do everything you can to help that luck come more easily.
At the end winning by 1 point is winning, hopefully you enjoy the game too.