This principle is one of 200 from The Tao of Chess by Peter Kurzdorfer. I realized while reading it, that these principles also applied to my approach to digital strategy and analytics. Since these are the things I am most often thinking about, I thought I’d share them here. If you’d like to learn Kurzdorfer’s take on chess and life, you’ll have to read his book.
Principle 3: Place pawns opposite bishop
In short, this principle is reminding you to have your pieces compliment one another. Bishops cover one half the board on a diagonal, either white or black, pawns move forward but can only attack diagonally, so you need to have them work with your bishops to secure the most board space.
Similarly, you must build your teams and select your systems so they compliment one another. I’ve noticed in the enterprise especially, it is a big challenge to achieve this. To begin, because the scale is so large individuals don’t always know what others are working on. They don’t/can’t be aware of how others may need to leverage data or content from their system. And they may not be viewing their fellow employees as end using customers who are using more than one system during a work day.
Instead they are focused on the successful completion of their singular task.
A digital strategist must gain a broad understanding of systems, needs, challenges, and people in order to be successful.
The strategist must work across a range of departments and owners to make over-arching sense of a myriad of systems and then convince these diverse individuals to work toward a common goal. This is aligning your pawns with your bishop.