Anticipation - A Special Skill of The Astute Strategist

229 reads

A very important quality of the strategic mind is the ability to foresee a sequence of events one’s actions or strategies can trigger. Their consequences may be quite unacceptable yet wholly avoidable, if we could just anticipate how things might turn out. Here’s an instance.

A homeless man in McDonald’s

A gentleman had brought a homeless man to a McDonald’s restaurant and bought him a meal. The poor man had barely started eating when the Restaurant Manager asked him to leave. He had called the police in the meantime. The policewoman did her job. She saw the poor man and his host out, the latter for loudly objecting to the unfair treatment.

It was not clear whether other diners had objected or the Manager felt they might. Another customer had in the meantime recorded the episode on his mobile phone. Soon after he posted it on LinkedIn, perhaps on Facebook too.

Protecting the business, or…. 

The Manager’s action was perfectly legal of course. The rights of admission were the management’s. It is reasonable to assume the Manager was acting in the interest of the business. Annoyed regular customers could shun the outlet.

Moral considerations aside, he probably did the right thing for the business. Or, did he? 

It is fair to expect the restaurant could lose a few customers – some who were present and others who might hear about the unwanted guest. Now that a video has been uploaded would many more in the town find the Manager’s action unfair, unethical, and discriminatory? Would a larger number feel offended and take their custom elsewhere, at least for a time? Would the pushback affect more than just this outlet of McDonald’s franchisee?

Would the higher management of the franchisee find the damage costly if not morally repugnant? Is it possible the Manager could be fired, or at least severely reprimanded?

Wait, there is more! 

How would McDonald see it if the groundswell of adverse public opinion and bad press dented the firm’s brand?

• Would the McDonald Board demand visible action to protect the Company’s brand?

• Could they sack the franchisee to distance themselves from the unsavoury episode?

• Would the franchisee fire the Manager? 

If the Manager could foresee these possibilities maybe he would have ushered the homeless man to an unobtrusive place, a corner of the kitchen or store, to sit and eat in peace. It is clear he did not anticipate larger and more distant consequences. Admittedly, I may have exaggerated the fallouts. But they are within the realm of possibility.

United Airlines (US) has experienced several similar incidents and come a cropper.

United breaks guitars 

Dave Carroll, a singer, had checked in a Taylor guitar on a United flight. When he found it broken at the destination, he lodged a complaint. The Airline refused to acknowledge fault and took no responsibility. In retaliation Dave wrote and recorded a song ‘United you broke my Taylor guitar’ and posted it on YouTube. They woke up when it had gathered a million views (18 million now) but it was too late.

Dragged off the plane! 

United did worse in April 2017. The Gate Manager in O’Hare International Airport, Chicago summoned security officials to forcibly evict a passenger, leading to bleeding injuries in the process. The firestorm of protests led to a precipitous drop in the Company’s share price, severe criticism in the US Congress, and a badly bruised reputation. Oscar Munoz, the CEO, lost the chance to be promoted Chairman for mishandling the case.

In each of the two instances concerned managers of United Airlines, including senior officials and the CEO, failed to foresee the effects of their actions. They did not realise how the immediate game could spawn other games in which unconnected players would take decisive part. The Manager in McDonald’s too probably failed to anticipate the chain of events his action could trigger.

The Strategist’s Mind 

A strategist examines his options in the light of those other players may have, in order to make the best choice under the circumstance. An astute strategist goes much further. He looks for games beyond the immediate one, and strategies of future players, to determine whether and how to play the game at hand. This is anticipatory thinking at its best.

Trending

198
cryptocurrency's picture

YouToken Disrupts FinTech and Crowdfunding at 2018 Global Blockchain Forum

YouToken (YTN) presented their innovative blockchain-based crowdfunding platform to over 1,400 attendees at the 2018 Global Blockchain Forum in Santa Clara, California.Dozens of promising startups attended the event with YouToken leading the way in
164
Ron Kaufman's picture

The Six Disruptors of Customer Experience

UP! Your Service is a global education and consulting company. We help leaders and companies all over the world achieve two primary outcomes: First, improve your customer’s experience – to help you attract customers, keep customers, generate
283
businessstandard's picture

Programmatic is transparent, but post-delivery: Vertoz CEO Ashish Shah

 Start-ups take faster to programmatic than regular consumer product firms, Ashish Shah tells Vanita Kohli-KhandekarIs programmatic useful from a brand building perspective?If you have to buy space in Business Standard or Times of India for 30
309
davecrenshaw's picture

Why “ASAP” isn’t clear communication—and what to use instead

Recently, I found myself saying the very word I’ve cautioned others against using many times. Here’s what happened. I noticed something was wrong on my website, so I reached out to my project manager, John. John’s a reliable guy and I knew he could
324
vsquare's picture

10 Steps for Business to be successful | Startup Success Formula | Dr Vivek Bindra

From: youtube.com By Dr. Vivek Bindra: Motivational SpeakerRecommended by: vsquare10 steps tor creating a successful business. You can use these steps to be successful. In this video, Dr Vivek Bindra outlines 10 revolutionary steps for business
400
jackcanfield's picture

Activating the Power of the Subconscious Mind

The untapped power of the subconscious mind can lead you to new success in your personal life and business life. Discovering how to turn your thoughts into positive and implementing the law of attraction into your daily life can take you to new
365
pradyumnanag's picture

How is it cheaper for Google to buy Groupon than internally build something like it?

 May be covered in some answers already by some fantastic answers.Just elucidating instead of replying on each of the posts. Though I may have my own personal reservations on the business model per se, they have been able to achieve something
342
changethis's picture

Willpower Is an Outdated Model of Success: Here’s the Future of Self-improvement

“It’s no wonder willpower has been placed under the media spotlight as essential to success. In a negative environment, willpower’s all we have left. It’s the life-raft, the backup parachute. And we’re depending on it to save our skins. It takes a
332
harvardbusinessreview's picture

How to Use Employee Referrals Without Giving Up Workplace Diversity

Incentivize employees to refer more women and people of color.