Anyone who has worked in the corporate world has probably had to read in some form or other The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, and most likely a bunch of other business related and strategy books. This blog post is not about Stephen Covey’s book, but I wanted to mention it because the book that I am writing about reminded me of Covey’s “Habit 2: Begin with the end in mind“.
The book that I recently read was the second in what seems to be now a series by John Braddock, A Spy’s Guide to Strategy. His previous book was A Spy’s Guide to Thinking, and I wrote a very quick review, (not a real review but a mention), in an early post. For reference, his website is here: https://www.spysguide.com .
Now, in his newest book, he writes more about a term “Endgame,” which in my mind is nothing more than Covey’s Habit 2, but Braddock goes into a lot more detail and provides tools for thinking through strategy. He uses this tool to try to ascertain the other person’s or entity’s endgame. This is a bit more tricky, and definitely requires imagination as his graphic shows. A major difference from Covey’s book and message is that Covey actually has Habit 4: Think Win-Win (Positive-Sum), whereas Braddock takes the reader through the underbelly of dissecting others strategies that do not align with your own and can be Win-Lose (Zero-Sum) or even Lose-Lose (Negative-Sum). In Braddock’s business, it is important to discover external targets trying to destroy our own (the U.S.), whereas in the business and marketing world, it is really about networking and relationships, (unless we’re talking about the competition).
Example of one of his tools/charts:
Braddock uses two stories as examples of why knowing the endgame of the other side is important. I will not describe them here as you need to read the book. But, I would think that in any type of negotiation, even marriage, you would want to know both parties involved are headed toward a similar goal or both have something to gain by the relationship or alliance. Marriages fail too often because the couples never discuss what they want out of the marriage and whether both want the same thing.
Braddock uses a few variations of his graphics to explain his analysis, and here are a few:
The version below is a variation on the first one above, but this is more global and details the “resources” that are part of the end game: people, places, things.
The version below starts to build on creating alliances with soft enemies to work together against a common enemy. Endgames within endgames, alternating positive and zero sum games, depending on your view into the life cycle of the game.
What do I do with this new information? How do I plan to use the strategic tools provided in the book?
Well, it provides me another construct to use when thinking about my personal endgame.
Another outcome of reading this book is that I am starting to re-evaluate our domestic political situation and can’t help wonder who all the political players are and how are they aligning. It seems we are in the midst of a huge “Boss Game” right now between political parties, and we could very well end up in a Civil War again if we aren’t diligent at reaching a win-win status quo.