28 Oct 2011

CheckMate! What can business leaders learn from the game of Chess?

For today’s Growth Coach blog, we are fortunate to have Keith Boudreau as a guest blogger. Keith is a Growth Coach Franchise Owner from the North Shore Boston area and works with business owners, executives, professionals and sales teams to achieve their personal and professional goals.

To learn more about Keith please visit: www.growthcoachnorthshore.com/

There are many attributes that chess Grand Masters need to be competitive and continually improve their game, but I think these are particularly useful for them and for business leaders as well:

Effective Use of Time: Chess is played on the clock. Players need to decide among myriad options, think 5-10 moves ahead, and then put their opponent under time pressure as quickly as they can.

Business owners and executives are pulled in 1000 directions every day, with competing demands requiring their attention. The most successful business leaders have learned what NOT to do, and devote their time on the few critically important things that will determine the success of their organization. They don’t confuse Activity with Accomplishment. They value their time very highly, and refuse to spend it on trivial, low value tasks.

All Pieces are not Equal: A Queen and a Pawn do not have equal value. Each piece on the board has its uses, depending on what its movement capabilities are.

Every worker, supervisor and manager has capabilities unique to them, and an effective leader recognizes these differences. He/she does everything possible to ensure each employee is positioned to leverage their strengths so their contributions to Winning The Game are maximized.

The Focus is on Results: In chess, you win, lose or draw. The object is to win.

In business, the object is to win. Its up to each business leader to define what constitutes “winning” , but once that is defined, its time to get to work. Results are what matters, not intentions or activities or initiatives or strategies or plans or anything else.

There are no Excuses: Chess is a contest with the result determined exclusively by the Actions of the Players. There are no externalities, no lucky or unlucky bounces, no good or bad economy, no weather conditions, no wishing for a miracle… it is 100% based on the moves made by the players.

Business is also a game of no excuses, but we see them all around us. Don’t make them, and don’t accept them. OWN your results, because they are what you made them!

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