This week (and next) we are speaking with long time friend and mentor, Chet Richards. Chet is the author of four books, the most famous (and relevant) is Certain to Win: The Strategy of John Boyd, Applied to Business. As many of you will know, John Boyd is the military philosopher whose work ranging from how to win a war to how we can win in non-violent competitive situations, has had such an impact on our work and on the results we help people achieve.
In this podcast, we look at Boyd’s body of work and, following advice from Chet, we read Boyd backwards. That is, we begin where Boyd finished – looking at how someone can win in life or, in Boyd’s words, how to generate vitality and growth and the essence of winning and losing. We then work our way back to look at how we need to adapt when the situation becomes increasingly challenging or contentious.
At first glance, it may not seem to have much to do with succeeding in the non-violent situations most of us face. However, I have found his work to be the most important work I have integrated into my work. Success in stressful situations does not come from bolting on a few extra steps to a philosophy of action designed for peaceful situations. Success comes from figuring out what works in the most stressful situations imaginable and then stripping the ideas back to suit peaceful situations. Then when the contention or conflict increases your philosophy is returning to it’s most natural state. This can give you confidence that your ideas will stand the pressure placed upon them. So I encourage you to give this one a little time to sink in. Now more than ever, we are going to face tests to our philosophy of action.
Chet and I summarise the key ideas in Boyd's presentations and papers. You can find them for free at Chet's website here.