Four Strategic Enterprise Classes You Can Take From ‘The Queen’s Gambit’

4 Strategic Business Lessons You Can Take From 'The Queen's Gambit'

16, 2020

7 min read

In Netflix's miniseries, The Queen & # 39; s Gambit, Kentucky-born chess prodigy Beth Harmon learns the game from the caretaker at her orphanage and evolves until she can take on the best in the world. The show has become a phenomenon since its debut in October as viewers keep rediscovering the beauty of chess and strategy.

We often say that the best executives in any industry “play chess while everyone else plays checkers”, but what does that mean exactly? How can we translate the rise of the fictional harmonic into our own lives and make sure we are ahead of the game?

You can start with these four tips.

1. Presentation is important

Before we get into chess itself, it's important to note that you can mute the queen's gambit and still understand the success. Almost every shot offers a beautiful representation of the style and fashion of the 1950s and 1960s. In addition to traveling to destinations like Mexico City and Paris, staying in top-rated hotels and enjoying the finer things in life, Harmon is also interested in fashion and purposely transforming himself from high school outcast into someone who takes pride in the envelopes of Magazines. The costume design, cinematography and the cohesion of the images on screen make you believe this show knows exactly what it is and where it is going. It creates enough confidence in the viewer to be able to immerse himself in chess in seven hours.

Especially during these times when most business can be done at home, it is probably tempting to wear sweat and work on your couch. However, when you meet with customers or take a Zoom call, instill the same confidence – you don't necessarily have to wear a suit and tie, just make sure the Star Wars poster is no longer visible from the view that the lighting is good is, etc. Be intentional about what others see and they have a tendency to believe that you are intended about your work, too.

Related: What Is Business Casual? Here are 9 classic looks for men.

2. Success is not final, failure is not fatal

That is a line from Winston Churchill that applies to our protagonist. Harmon is drawn to the chessboard when she sees Mr. Shaibel, the caretaker at the Methuen Home for Girls, playing alone in the basement for the first time. She says it's like a little world contained in the 64 fields and asks Shaibel if he'll teach her.

He says no and she leaves disappointed.

She doesn't give up, however; She comes back another day and watches him. She learns how the parts move in just a few minutes. Eventually she impresses him with her tenacity and incredible eye for detail, and he gives in and reluctantly teaches her the rules of the game.

He never takes it easy for her, never lets her win, and often refuses to show her how she lost. But Harmon reenacts the games in her head, sees the movements on the smooth ceiling of the orphanage and learns from every experience. Within a short time she is not only better at the game than Sheibel, but also better than everyone else in town.

It proves that saying “no” or losing doesn't mean forever. Sometimes the timing just isn't right. When you start a business, you are told "no" hundreds of times, but to use another Winston Churchill quote, "Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm." Learn from your mistakes, but keep believing in yourself and you may believe your doubters when the dust settles.

3. Have a plan, but give yourself space to improvise

One of Harmon’s greatest chess-related difficulties is the back and forth between improvising and studying the history of other great players. As a child prodigy, she's more comfortable reading and reacting to the game in real time, trusting that she will make the best possible move in every scenario. This is more than enough for them to win the local tournaments and become known as one of the best in the game.

However, at the top there are also other prodigies with more experience and discipline who use this style against them, surprise them, or catch them in ways they hadn't thought of.

The main focus of their chess coaches within the show, from Shaibel to American master Benny Watts, is on studying the past games of their opponents and past grandmasters to understand how they see the game and what they might do in certain scenarios. Neither of them can play chess as well as Harmon, but their more formal approach to the game adds a new element to them. Harmon's playing is strongest when she can switch between styles, understands the formal elements and gives herself space to improvise or try something new.

It is also important for entrepreneurs to be flexible historians. Just because you're starting a new business doesn't mean every item is new. When you can find mentors to guide you through the steps they take, you can be on your way. You shouldn't try to just inspire it. Have a formalized plan and a list of the goals you want to achieve.

At the same time, it's important to know when to improvise, and the current climate is a great example of why. Whiskey burners made hand sanitizer while clothing companies made masks to help both their customers and their businesses.

Related: Within the DIY movement to make face shields and masks for healthcare workers

4. Play your line

"You should play the Sicilian in your game with Borgov," said Watts as she trains Harmon for her matchup against world champion Vasily Borgov. Despite the show's title, the Sicilian defense is Harmon's signature style of play.

There's only one problem, however: it's also what Borgov is known for that Harmon is pointing out. Wouldn't it be dangerous to try and beat the best in the world in your own game?

"It's also what you feel most comfortable with," replies Watts. “You should always play your line, never his. You play what is best for you. "

One of the most common questions our investors ask about Elevator Pitch is, "What about your company or idea that a competitor can't just copy?" When you play your line, your insights and experiences can give you an inside track that no one else has. This can make all the difference in the world when it comes to creating a product, service, or experience that no one else can achieve.

Don't twist yourself in knots and try to offer gimmicks that are easy to copy. Master what makes you unique and trust that it will be enough.