chess business

It’s your move: why chess could change the way you think about business.

Posted on August 12th, 2011

Categories: Advice, People Management

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This post currently has 3 comments.

When it comes to making tough decisions and choices, the current economic climate is a challenging time for business leaders across all industry sectors. Obstacles repeatedly block business development, you constantly need to keep an eye on your competitors’ strategies, and the pressure never seems to let up.

It’s like a giant game of chess, and right now you’re in check. Here’s how a knowledge of chess can change the way you think about business, and help you stay one move ahead of your competitors.

Planning ahead

In chess: Players make their moves based on what they think will happen over the next 10, 15 or even 20 moves, and they constantly run through scenarios that predict what may happen over those moves.
In business: It’s all too easy to make decisions without considering the consequences, and forward planning in business is key to success.

The secret is staying in control of the situation and NOT taking reactive action. Ultimately, it’s about staying away from positions where you’re ‘putting out fires’, and it’s about being pro- active and having a clear strategy that can be executed and delivered.

Handling pressure

In chess: A player is under time pressure to move a piece, based on the situation on the battlefield. The pressure forces a player to value each passing second and to waste no time.
In business: Business owners and leaders are being pushed and pulled in numerous directions every day, each task demanding full attention. Successful leaders only devote full attention if the matter is critical or if it affects the success of the business. Time is valuable – it’s important to make the right decision, given time the pressure.

Your every move counts. A bad move is a wasted turn and you lose time, ground and momentum. You run the risk of losing control of the situation and find yourself on the run. Great chess players and business people are very conservative during the opening with what they do. But once they’ve gained some ground …they’re off.

Using your assets

In chess: Every asset counts. If you lose a piece and fail to take one on your next turn, it can cost you the game. In fact, once a grandmaster is two pieces up on an opponent, victory is practically assured. The momentum picks up and it snowballs from there.
In business: It’s just as competitive and you need every asset – both people and physical – to gain an edge.

In the current climate, it’s all too easy for leaders and managers to ‘cut costs’. Although cutting costs may be necessary, don’t make a ‘bad move’. Ensure that the cost being cut is not a ‘bad’ and expensive move in the longer term.

Managing your people

In chess: Each piece has a role to play within the game – designed to do specific tasks or assisting other pieces to reach the goal.
In business: Everyone in the structure – workers, managers or supervisors – have a specific role to play in the organisation. Each individual must also be positioned to work hand in hand, to maximise their strength and tackle issues.

So, make effective use of everything you’ve got – such as reserves; resources; the right skills and experience and relationships. If you’re not using it, make a decision and turn it into an opportunity that you can use.

Focusing on your objectives

In chess: The main focus is to win the game.
In business: The main focus is to succeed in your field.

Once you realise the definition of “winning” in your organisation, your people can work with that definition in mind and succeed.

The bottom line is that there are no excuses in both chess and business. In chess, there is no such thing as luck, as the moves are calculated and not guessed – the same can be said for business; the measure of its success are based on the actions of the owner or leader.

What’s more, there are no such things as the perfect economy, miracles or even perfect weather conditions! Business leaders and owners need to consider any consequences their actions bring. Basically, the rewards are based on what you sow: the decisions you take and choices you make.

Comparing business to chess can help you deal with complex situations and the heavy pressure that comes with them. It helps us to learn strategies that are intrinsic. The value is in their very nature – in the way you can always count on gravity to make an apple fall on someone’s head.

Entrepreneurs and leaders either succumb to the pressures, losing valuable development and innovation time or they move forward. Business, like chess, requires a bona fide strategy. It’s all about the choices you make, within the overall strategy, the ability to thwart pressure and your passion to succeed that keep you focused on the result.

At Ascend Twentyone we can help you develop and implement the kind of business strategies that can keep you ahead of any game, and which can ultimately protect your bottom line. So get in touch now, and make sure your game plan really measures up.

3 Responses to “It’s your move: why chess could change the way you think about business.”

  1. I feel you’ve bought something good here. But you should have added a couple of links to a web page that backs up what you are saying. Only a suggestion. Anyway, there aren’t many good sources like this.

  2. Cesar says:

    I’m going to share my own info with what I’ve learned with regard to this post.

  3. Thanks for the blog post, keep up the good work!

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