Chess Not Checkers

Mark Miller has written yet another leadership gem. In Chess Not Checkers, he shows us in 4 simple moves how you can “Elevate Your Leadership Game”.

He first begins with the simple concept that checkers is a game of reaction while chess is a game of strategy, requiring thinking several moves ahead. Often times what holds us back in our leadership is merely reacting to situations (“putting out fires”) instead of strategically planning a response.

Mark continues the story of Blake Brown and his development as a leader. He has grown with under the mentoring of Debbie Brewster, his father’s protege, but as he takes on a new challenge of being the CEO of a struggling company, she tells him that he has will be in need of a different mentor. Enter Jack Deluca, a retired CEO with a wealth of experience in helping companies develop.

Jack used the game of chess to impart 4 leadership lessons to Blake that will help him transform his struggling company into a thriving business. It all begins with leadership. In the words of John Maxwell, “Everything rises and falls on leadership.” Jack’s first move for Blake is to “Bet on Leadership”. Blake needed to develop the leaders around him because he couldn’t lead all by himself.

As you put a leadership development plan in place, the next step is to “Act as One”. There is great power in unity. When the leadership of an organization acts as one, the entire organization prospers and grows. What was an unhealthy organization becomes strong when the leaders pull on the same end of the rope.

After the leadership gets on the same page, you must “Win the Heart” of others in the organization. There must be a top to bottom synergy that propels the organization to future growth. When you win the hearts of those on your team you get greater buy in and a broader perspective for new ideas and growth.

Finally you must “Excel at Execution”. If you don’t put any points on the board, you never win the game. You have to execute the plan that is put in place and make the necessary changes along the way to continue to progress further.

Mark Miller’s writing is engaging and easy to follow. If you are a young leader or someone who is stuck in their leadership, this book will provide the encouragement and direction you need to take your next leap. This book also serves as a good reminder for leadership veterans to build toward the future and bring alignment to your people and plan.


~ by mikefoster on March 31, 2015.

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