Can we Learn from Chess Improvement Systems?
The Seven Circles approach (De la Maza, Michael. Rapid Chess Improvement, 2002) uses a repetitive approach to developing automaticity in chess strategy. For those in the automotive world, it resembles a layered process audit somewhat. It requires different levels, different speeds, exercises, and more. We suggest this approach is a good way to intensively educate ourselves in just about anything we choose to study.
We can also use this approach (64 days, 32 days, 16 days, 8 days, 4 days, 2 days, 1 day) to perform audits, quality checks, and so on. Indeed, we can also turn the sequence around and go from very short periods to longer periods to verify sustainability of a process change.
A Web check of the Seven Circles method will find some evidence of controversy, at least part of which is attributable to the high level of intensity required to move our chess scores from dismal to expert or master. Hence, before using a method such as this for process improvement, Six Sigma, and other initiatives, we need to understand the investment in time and energy (just like anything else we choose to do!). If we are not willing to commit the level of effort necessary to reach our goals then why have heartburn over the reality of what it takes?