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Tuesday, June 12

Practice for Business by Playing Risk

I don't know if you have ever played Risk, it is an interesting game to practice thinking. The core strategy revolves around choosing when and which territories to fortify. Basically it is the sort of war/military game for people who aren't into the bloody part of the war. Depending on how you play, you can randomize the territory selection, or you, as a player chooses the territory. Based on the surrounding competition, you can choose when and what to attack. In my experience, the successful players fortify one area, or continent, pool their resources there, then attack (when no one is looking hopefully). The first time you play, you may try to spread yourself too thin, just to have coverage everywhere, but typically someone with resources, momentum or both comes in an knocks your army off the planet. The goal is to take over the world. The last man standing is the winner.

Just a thought. Read in to it as you wish. But if you can find an online version to play, try it out. And run some experiments. Look at how your thought processes guide your decisions. Did you get sideswiped by unknown competition? Was your competition obvious and looming? Did it show up out of the blue, or grow slowly over time?

Now, model your business (or industry) after a Risk game. In this case, you don't need to take over the world to be successful.... one continent (or island) is enough. You can use a geography model, or keep it abstract, or even use customer segments. Position your armies and pick your battles wisely. You might be surprised by the results.

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