The “Captains of Industry” Business Dynamic Spread

“Business Management” spreads are some of the most challenging patterns to craft since there so many dynamic variables, vested interests and external influences to consider that it can be difficult to decide where to place the focus. You can quickly wind up with a sprawling, multi-armed monstrosity. (Hint: Despite its appearance, this really isn’t one of those.)

Here is a spread that places responsibility for success or failure of any business strategy squarely on the “Captain” (business leader) and his or her “Lieutenants” (key management subordinates*). One sets the strategy in motion and the others try to keep it on track. It uses facing and orientation (upright or reversed) of the “Captain” card to point toward one of four possible “success or failure” arcs. The facing and orientation of the two “Lieutenant” cards suggest efforts to “correct” any positive arc that starts to falter or any negative arc that needs a nudge as it begins to recover. I set the other court cards aside so the reading becomes more a matter of the functional performance of the strategy than one of competing agendas and personalities. Looking at the graphic, we might think of these paired “arcs” as emulating a thermometer (hot or cold business climate) and a barometer (rising or falling prospects for growth), or a car dashboard (speedometer and tachometer showing acceleration or deceleration in strategy performance).

It’s important to use a deck that has at least some indication of facing in all of the court cards. The Waite-Smith deck is one that works since only the King of Swords is facing straight out of the picture (in that case I use the sword in the “active” right arm to imply facing). Another thought I had is that if you have business co-leaders (i.e. you could place two cards in the Court Card #1 position), you could get a “sine-wave” thing going on. I might see the combination of the “Hot Cycle” arc and the “Falling Cycle” arc as a “hot mess” with two intransigent bosses creating chaos amid attempts at correction coming from both ends. I wouldn’t want to be an underling to those guys!

*There may be more than two subordinates with “an oar in the water” in any strategy roll-out, but these are the two whose heads are most at risk in the event of failure. If all of the “principals” to the roll-out are male, you could just shuffle the Kings and Knights, and if they’re female, just the Queens and Pages. Otherwise, use all sixteen court cards and take a “gender-neutral” stance based more on qualities of management style.

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