In chess, a checkmate occurs when a player’s king is under attack, and has no alternative plan or course of action available because every possible escape route is blocked. At the moment of checkmate, the game is already lost, so the only way to avoid being checkmated is to be proactive, to strategically think several moves before ever getting to this point. Chess grand masters, able to visualize permutations and combinations involving ten or more moves into the future, have perfected this skill. Fortunately, it’s far less complicated to avoid a checkmate in the world of work! In fact, there are only three elements needed to develop a leadership approach that is effective in avoiding a workplace checkmate.
- First, pay attention to “checks”. In chess, a “check” (called by a player when the opponent’s king is under threat of capture) serves as a warning that a checkmate is imminent and gives the opponent a chance to take evasive action. Checks are also present in the workplace, alarm signals to leaders that things are about to go awry. But it’s up to leaders to pay attention. Whether it’s an increase in errors, a rise in customer complaints, or grumbling around the staff water cooler, it’s up to leaders to heed the cautionary signs and take evasive action.
- Second, pay attention to the pieces on the board. Continue reading