Decision Maker: The Chess Player


If you’ve ever been in awe of someone who can put aside short-term gains in order to out-maneuver a strategic opponent in the long run, you’re not alone. As an ambitious, impulsive, hedonist who also enjoys a good big picture debate, it’s hard for me to imagine how my own insatiable interest in maximizing gains could ever possibly get in the way of my ability to succeed. But then I met my match: the intuitive strategist who is more inclined to protect against future risk rather than capitalize on the here-and-now. Checkmate.

Some people make decisions to minimize threats to their future situation. They base their choices on strategic considerations and past experiences, and their mindset is oriented in a way that enables them to think several moves ahead. Ladies and gentlemen, meet your Chess Players. These are the individuals who rely more on intuition to make their judgments, and are prepared to accept short-term losses to win the long-term game. With the understanding that success can take time, Chess Players try to put details into their proper context. They value thinking outside the box, make decisions and move on, and keep track of past decisions to improve future ones.

The skillset of the Chess Player gets utilized most in contexts that feature high degrees of persistent competition, in fast moving industries, and in companies that above all require innovation, tolerance of ambiguity, and strategic acumen in their leaders (think FMCGs with technical foundations or globally expanding companies in consistently volatile markets). But they’ll need to team up with some data-oriented individuals to lend support to their positions, especially if they are looking to gain buy-in for their ideas across an organization.

By including a Chess Player on a multi-year business plan or one that introduces drastic change, a leadership team can gain invaluable insights, especially if that team is overly focused on rewards, data-oriented or tactical.  I for one look forward to teaming up more with the Chess Player I mentioned before, so that I can better balance out my own spontaneity and reward-focus…as World Chess Champion Emanuel Lasker once said: “When you see a good move, look for a better one.”

Is there a Chess Player in your organization? How does he or she fit in with the Promoters, Defense Analysts, and Politicians of the organization? Let us know how that approach works for your team!

#DecisionMakers #Judgment