Day 5(Corporate)

Creativity is one of the last remaining legal ways of gaining an unfair advantage over the competition.” 

ED MCCABE

Under Promotion

How many of you think you deserve a promotion at your job at this very moment? How many of you feel you that your superiors at work don’t have an impartial attitude. The situations in which we feel we are at the wrong end of the corporate spectrum are infinite.

We often feel unsatisfied when we think that we have received less than what we deserve. We complain about the same to our colleagues, friend and family. We lose motivation to work hard and it sends us on a downward spiral towards misery.

With that thought in mind, lets consider the following position.

In this example what do you think should white play? As we already know, when the pawn reaches the 8th rank it can be promoted to any other piece and usually it’s promoted to a Queen.

Should White promote his pawn on c7 to a queen then?

When I was undergoing training at an IT firm, I had a colleague who was also in the same batch. She was very talented and after she was posted to her location, she wasted no time in working hard at her job. She did not receive a project immediately so she used that time to improve her skill set. Pretty soon there was a clear difference between her and the rest of the trainees who got posted at the same location.

But when projects came around, she wasn’t given one. Among the team of 28 trainees posted within the span of one month, 9 got their projects but she was left on the bench. While I was having a conversation with her, she complained about the unfair boss and the biased world. It was quite shocking to see how quickly a glass half full person turned into a half empty one. I tried the best I could to motivate her as did her family and friends. She hung on. After a long one month ordeal, there was an opportunity for a project in Switzerland and her boss offered her the chance to join. A pleasant surprise of course. He even mentioned how he thought that she was one of the most talented youngsters he had met. As he had a clue about this upcoming opportunity, he refrained from placing her in any other project until then.

Coming back to the position.

This is what the pawn wants to do. He wants to reach his maximum potential immediately. But what he doesn’t realize is that this would only lead to an equal position for White. The player in charge of the pieces knows better, he can judge the role of each piece better as well as keep the ultimate objective in mind.

When we work really hard in an organization and still don’t get results or any appreciation, we feel dejected. We think there is something wrong with us. If not that we start doubting the organization. We complain a lot and it becomes difficult to see the good in the entire scheme of things. We think people are using us, we think like the pawn and not as the essential part in the army.

However, the king truly understands the potential of the pawn. So the white king decides to promote his pawn to a Knight, which is surely not a pawn’s dream. But look at the board, the knight checks the Black king as well as attacks the Black queen, so after Black moves, White takes the queen for free and remains a knight up! White knows that by under promoting a pawn they are actually winning the game. Yes, the pawn will feel bad for now, but in the end it will be that pawn which helped White win in the bigger picture and its contribution will never be unnoticed.

Moral of the story here is, always see the bigger picture. It may look as if life is unfair but trust the process.

As an employee we need to trust our seniors because they have some prior experience, they want to help the organization win and in most cases they see your true potential. Remember that the c7 pawn won the game for white after all and its true potential was something greater than a queen.

Even in life. when something doesn’t go the way we want it to, we quickly blame god. We say ‘why me’, and complain that life is unfair to us. But the reality is different, we fail to see that with every hardship, every struggle, every obstacle, every failure we face we become stronger individuals.

Here the caterpillar is free, its only dream is to live. But God has something else in store for him.

The hardships it has to go through in order to become something that God wants it to be.

Finally when it is done facing the hardships it comes out stronger as a free, beautiful butterfly.

We all are like that caterpillar, we have our dreams and aspirations. We want what we think is correct and when we don’t get it we either throw in the towel or blame the situation and eventually call it quits. All the things we go through, all the battles we face which will shape us into the beautiful butterflies we all are meant to be.


Overloading

Often the objective of businesses is to make profits. That means hiring as few people as possible to do as much work as possible. But often the employees end up overworked.

Let’s look at a couple of examples in the game of chess.

White to play

Here the rook on d7 is the overloaded piece. It protects the rook on d8 as well as the pawn on f7. As you can see if we capture 1. Nxf7+ Rxf7 Now the rook has moved and d8 rook is left unprotected so 2.Rxd8+ and mate on the next move. In this example too d7 square is the only square from which black can protect f7 and d8 with the rook.

White to play

Here the rook on d8 is overloaded, it protects the bishop on d3 as well as guards a back rank checkmate. (Seen in blue arrows) White can play 1. Bxd3 Rxd3 2. Ra8# (Red arrows are white’s possible threats) The d8 is the only square that gives access to black rook to protect a8 and d3.

In both cases the rook has too much to do. It’s overloaded with too many responsibilities that it can’t handle. If you find yourself in such a situation with no work life balance you probably are a victim of this common ignored problem of work place environments. Especially with job securities a thing of the past, employees are reluctant to raise their voice against burnout.

Most gaming developers often face this issue where ‘crunch time’ is often a fancy word for overtime without pay. The employees have to work for 40-50 hours a week for basic pay and no job security. Any whistle blowers regarding insane work hours or sexual harassment cases are immediately fired. This led to only one third of the employees mentioning in a survey that they would consider forming a union to fight for their rights.

Companies should have more employee- centered policies. If they take care of the people they employee, the employees will take care of the company. Employees on the other hand should try to maintain a work-life balance. One should be ready to fight for his rights, if a job makes you work for 15 hours a day with no time to catch a breath, no amount of money can compensate that.

Creativity

While playing chess, for the first three moves 121 million possible combinations are possible. A normal game lasts anywhere between 40-60 moves, the longest game ever lasted 269 moves! I’ll leave the calculation of the number of possible continuations for that case to the user 🙂

This factor alone tells us that once we sit opposite someone with a chess board in between, we will inevitably create something that has probably never been created in the history of mankind. Let that sink in.

You will create something that has never been done in the history of mankind.

How often can you claim to have done something that no one has ever done? We live our lives trying to imitate other people. Go to school, give examinations, go to college, give examinations, give interviews, get a job, get married, so on. Even in our daily lives we all get up, take a shower, head for work, repeat the same routine at work for different clients and come back home. There is satisfaction in routine, no doubt. But the deeper you settle into the comfort zone of your routine, the lesser creativity will knock your door.

Creativity is what created the phone or the laptop you are reading this on. It is what created the planes we fly on. It is the sole reason our lives are more comfortable than a few decades ago.

Why would be bury this gift each and every one of us has? We should let it free like a bird so that when it comes to us it will would have seen things we never could.

Let your mind free of your routine. Shuffle it around, indulge in new activities from time to time. Try different cuisine. Learn to dance. Play a game of chess. Make your life more interesting, and it will automatically translate into some amazing ideas at work.

Make your life more interesting, chose your own menu.


Risk Assessment & Prophylaxis

Whether you are an employee or an employer, risk assessment is a part of our daily lives. Especially under the current circumstances, should we head out for work or stay home and hope to ride it out?

Which projects to focus on, which group of people to network with, what shares to invest in or which idea would be good for a business are few of the questions you might dabbling with.

Lets have a look at a game I played at the Cannes Chess Festival in 2016.

Every time you decide to take a flight, you are placing your life in the hands of an unknown person. But you assess the chances of everything going fine at more than 99.99 percent. But no one becomes successful with decisions that have such a high probability of success.

In 2008, both Tesla and Space X were on the borderline of bankruptcy. This probably would have been a moment of paranoia for Elon Musk who had invested in two unconventional and risky projects. Elon shares his story about how before starting Space X, one of his friends prepared a warning video for him which just had a number of failed rocket launches on it.

This would have been the moment where even Elon would have wondered if his friend was right. But Musk had definitely assessed the situation better than the others. Not only did both his companies survive, but they made startling innovations in their respective fields in the years to come. Both Space X and Tesla are now leading examples of how Elon is a prime example on how to assess the probability of a project to work.

A couple of examples are the following :-

Example 1.

Example 2.

Chess can’t tell you which company to invest in, but it can definitely develop a thinking process about how to think. It will inculcate an ability to easily assess the possible consequences of your actions, for example how your competition might react to a new product launch by your company. Whether you should talk to your boss about a raise? Whether you should take the new job opportunity you have or stick to the old one? Whether you should start your own business? If you can anticipate the possible outcomes, you can prepare for them even before they arrive.

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