Identify the blind spots and opportunities

  • Are you the leader of a company, a business unit or a team?
  • Are you worried about the sustainability of your business?
  • Are you bothered by fears of the future?

You lack the really good ideas how to make your business great and future-proof again?

Wargame

Play a wargame

A very exciting and thrilling experience I’m here to give you instructions on your wargame. Together with my team at FutureManagementGroup, I have played countless exciting wargames over the last 20 years.

A wargame is a workshop to simulate conceivable, probable and also surprising attacks by competitors against your company and to learn from them. Where are the blind spots in your strategy, where you are vulnerable, but also where your best opportunities for the future lie?

A wargame is a role-playing game, but don’t invite your colleagues to a role-playing game. If you call it a wargame, they’ll more inclined to participate. You can also use other common names, such as “be the enemy” or “nightmare competitor” or “disrupt me”. Let me say this upfront: I am a peaceful person and do not advocate aggression or war here. It’s only about a harmless, but very inspiring thought game in the field of business.

Battle of Dorking

In 1872 there was an attack of the German Reich on Great Britain. It was one year after the victory of the North German Confederation under the leadership of the Prussian army over France. And one year after the foundation of the German Empire on 01 January 1871. The Germans were in the midst of a strong industrialization and also highly motivated by the foundation of the Reich. The British Navy was destroyed by so-called “fatal engines”. Today they are known as torpedoes. The German army landed in Sussex. Both the British Navy and the army were scattered throughout the world to expand and maintain the Commonwealth. In addition, Britain had demilitarized itself to a large extent and the soldiers were poorly trained. So they were weak at home.

The Battle of Dorking

The attack was very surprising. Surprising because there was no obvious reason for the attack, no dispute, no conflict, no crisis.

It came as it had to come. In the decisive battle at Dorking, the Germans defeated the British. The Germans conquered Great Britain and made it a highly taxed province of the German Empire. Great Britain had to hand over its role as the leading naval power as well as the huge Commonwealth to the German Empire.

But wait: the whole thing never happened. It was a fictional story. A scenario. Written by George Chesney in 1871, one year before the alleged attack. Published in this book. The Battle of Dorking. When William came. William, the Emperor of the German Empire.

The book was printed and read a couple of hundred thousand times and caused enormous sensation and hot and anxious discussions. As a consequence the British hurried to strengthen their army and navy again and made enormous investments. And they founded the Secret Service. In this way, by inventing a previously unimagined but plausible and frightening scenario of an attack by a strong opponent the horrible scenario was possibly prevented from happening.

Wargame

The purpose of a wargame is that you can imagine what competitors could do and how they could do it to take away your orders and your customers. To drive your business into insignificance and bankruptcy. And how they could use the latest amazing technologies and the most intelligent strategies to make you disappear from the market.

But a wargame is supposed to deliberately scare your team only in the first part, in order to wake up a possibly too complacent team. But fear without hope is harmful.

The second goal is to prevent these attacks by preparing for them. This will make your alignment and strategy more robust for the future. That’s why many government agencies and enterprises simulate attacks on their IT or infrastructure. In order to recognize and eliminate the weak points.

And the third and most important goal is for you to identify your greatest future opportunities in the potential attacks of your competitors by reversing them. Please act only with fair and legal means and for the benefit of your customers. And please do not harm your competitors directly. A wargame and implementing the resulting insights will make your company and business model much more future-robust and you will never again run the risk of missing significant threats and opportunities due to a lack of attention.

With a wargame you can calibrate the attention of your team for signals in the market. This way you get a kind of strategic future radar virtually for free.

Here’s how you should proceed

You can play a wargame pragmatically in three hours, but also very professionally in two or three days with several rounds.

1. Pick a business area

You can use your current company and business model as the object of attack. Or, if you have a vision for your future company and business model, you can use it as an object of attack. With this you can perfectly check whether your vision and strategy is future-robust.

Determine for which effects customers pay your company. Don’t focus on the tangible products and services, but on the effects that your customers really buy. So not on the car, but on mobility, joy and prestige and not on health insurance, but on the feeling of security as the desired effect.

2. Pick the competitors

Choose real, potential and imaginary competitors. Take competitors who you respect, who you hate you, ones that already exist or who do not yet exist. Make sure that you always include a rich, intelligent and aggressive Chinese as a competitor. And if they are not there yet, be sure they will come.

And add Alphabet as a competitor, the mother of Google, so that you can also think of the totally digital disruptions. In any case, you have to bring the nightmare competitors into the game.

3. Put yourself in the role of your competitors

Put two, three or more people of your team in the role of a competitor, depending on the size of your group.

Provide the teams with thinking tools, such as a list of innovative technologies that are emerging in your industry. Or visualize the elements of your business model.

You can also simulate in one round of the wargame that there is a new crash with a subsequent economic crisis, triggered by a not that unlikely collapse of the euro banking system.

4. Let your competitors attack your business

Then these competitor teams attack your company and business model. With the knowledge of your business model. You’ll be surprised what your employees can think of. That way you can simulate what could really happen in the future or at any time from now.

You simulate the attacks you are afraid of. But you can only get rid of these fears about the future and the feeling of being threatened if you face your fears, deal with them and make provisions for when the scenarios really happen.

5. Identify the impacts of the attacks

Now switch roles. Your teams now become teams of your company again.

Leave one employee from each competitor team in his role. He or she will now present to the team the attacks that the competitor team has selected as the most effective, most dangerous and harmful for you. Now you can see what impact the attacks are having on your organization’s success factors. Where you are vulnerable. You can see where and how bad the impacts of the attacks would be.

The teams then evaluate and decide what to neglect and what to take care of.

6. Develop Contingency Strategies

Develop so-called contingency strategies in the next step.

These are preventive strategies, i.e. measures that you can already implement today. Either to prevent competitors from attacking, for example by patent protection or better contracts with your customers, or measures that keep the consequences of an attack to a minimum. And acute strategies that you can prepare and take out of your drawer in case the attack scenario really happens.

7. Develop your opportunities

The attacks of your competitors are – if you reverse them – exactly the opportunities you need for your future. After carefully evaluating and selecting your opportunities, you have a clear picture of the business areas, business models and strategies that will sustain your business in three, five or ten years. You recognize and seize your opportunities in the markets of the future.

In this way, you get rid of your fears of the future and see the future as less threatening and more promising, through the simulation and analysis and reversal of future assaults. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

8. Outcomes

With your wargame you can achieve the following results.

  • Recognize and understand future events and changes in the competitive landscape.
  • Identify and understand the potential strategies, moves and activities of competitors
  • Derive your own opportunities for yourself from the strategies and moves of your competitors

With these results you will achieve the following effects

  • Safeguarding your vision and strategy and making them future-robust
  • Recognizing future opportunities for your company
  • Increasing the team’s awareness of potential threats and opportunities
RESULTS: Your result related goals with the wargame
RESULTS: Your result related goals with the wargame
EFFECTS: Your effect related goals with the wargame
EFFECTS: Your effect related goals with the wargame

Set a date for your wargame right away.

If you have any questions about the methodology, the necessary tools or the organization, I will be happy to answer them. Email me at: PM@FutureManagementGroup.com.

Enjoy your wargame and have a bright future.