The Leadership Chess Board

June 4, 2024

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I'm Deb- CEO, worldwide executive coach, mentor, consultant and speaker. I'm here to help you take your leadership and impact to the next level!

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The Leadership Chess Board

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Being a leader is a bit like playing chess.

You must know your opponent, be aware of what is currently on the board, and anticipate the next possible moves.

Your strategic action is based on these three critical factors:

  • Powers of Observation
  • Patterns of Behavior
  • Position of the Pieces

The same holds true in business leadership.

How do these three factors play out in strategic action for business leadership?

Powers of Observation

While you are not physically in the day-to-day work as you may have once been, as a leader, you must be very aware of it. What happens on the front line affects the bottom line. If you are not observing the day-to-day work yourself, you will need to engage those who are great observers. These are those who can monitor the details and see patterns. They hold the team accountable to standards that are set for the organization.

As a leader, you must observe outside factors as well. What is happening in the world? What is happening in your industry?

Patterns of Behavior

The Maxwell Method of DISC helps to identify and anticipate patterns of behavior. It enables you to develop a team that works well together. It also helps you resolve issues when they don’t.

As a leader, you will need to coordinate the movement of your team. A team that moves together well, with coordinated strengths, can accomplish great things. A disjointed team, with uncoordinated patterns of behavior, tends to bring chaotic results instead of celebrated outcomes.

Knowing patterns of behavior also helps with leadership agility. Knowing your competition and anticipating their next move helps you to strategically plan yours.

Position of the Pieces

This is all about knowing the parts of the business, their functions and priorities, and how they work together. John Maxwell talks about the “Law of Timing”. It is about keeping the business gears turning together. This is especially important for small business owners and entrepreneurs who are very idea focused. They must train themselves to view their “board of business”, and not just these parts. This helps create a healthy business.

Strategic Planning

Put these three factors together, and you have awareness, correct placement of people based on their strengths, and the right priorities working together.

Right actions, right placement, and right priorities – a solid formula for success.

This is why regular strategic planning sessions are important for all leaders. They provide an intentional time for reflection and future planning. While businesses operate in daily, weekly, and monthly time horizons; there is a critical need for the regular review of the broader horizons of quarterly, annual, and long-range.


Action Steps

  1. Powers of Observation – What are you observing in the world, in your industry, and in your organization? What are the opportunities? What are the challenges?
  2. Patterns of Behavior – How is your team working together? How well do they communicate? Do you have the right people in the right place? What moves do you anticipate your competition will be making over the next quarter or year? What should your strategy be, based on these patterns and observations?
  3. Position of the Pieces – Of the main areas of your business – foundation, marketing, projects, team/resources, or finances and administration – which needs to be your main focus for the next quarter? And how can you keep the other areas strong in order to support this focus?

For valuable resources on Discovering Your Strengths, click here.

Deb Ingino is a highly sought-after executive coach, mentor, consultant, and speaker worldwide. Deb is well versed in business operations and in the importance of asking key questions most business leaders won’t ask themselves. She brings deep experience in leadership development, strategy, high performance team building and effective communication. She has a passion for leading people to discover and maximize their strengths as well as those of fellow team members, while offering advanced strategies to achieve high performance. Deb is the perfect fit if you’re ready to take your leadership and impact to the next level!