Is Leading a Company Like Playing Chess?
A CEO would be lucky if it were that simple. I was reminded recently of a conversation I had many years ago with a friend of mine. We were talking about chess and how “interesting” the game might be if we were challenged to lead the chess pieces rather than control them. Think about that for a second.
We envisioned an electronic version of the game where a player would enter a move for the chess piece with no guarantee that it would arrive at the designated square on the board. An entry of P-K4 may result in P-K3. It’s an outcome that might be harmless in some situations, yet disastrous in others. Chess pieces (like people) would have minds of their own. That would change the game, wouldn’t it? It’s a fitting metaphor for the real challenges facing any organizational leader.
Making the right move may help you win at chess, but it’s only a small part of what it takes to lead an organization. Real leadership makes chess look like checkers. Turns out CEO peer groups have proven effective at helping leaders navigate its complexities and, because of this, CEOs are relying on them more than ever. In today’s complex world, CEOs can use all the help they can get.