As a business person it is always important to have some outside hobbies to keep life real and interesting. Several years ago, my close friend, her husband, and I decided to have a weekly event together. We thought about yoga, wine-tasting, cooking and even language classes. At some point, I don’t recall how, we ended up taking chess classes at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis. The “Chess Club” as we call it in Saint Louis is one of the finest in the nation! It is located in the Central West End and the environment is absolutely beautiful.
I am so happy we decided to do this. The very best part of chess is the fact it allows me to forget about business for a while. It truly is fun to see people of all ages, religious and ethnic backgrounds come together to play this intriguing game. Despite anything you might of heard, Saint Louis is an awesome city, you should come check (no pun intended) it out!
I’d like to say that I’m a great chess player but that is super far from the truth. I’m not even ranked and sometimes my ADHD gets the best of me during my games. The fact of the matter is, I want to enjoy chess for a long time and I want to continue having fun, so I am OK with just playing the game!
So what does this have to do with business? There are so many things that correlate with business; OK I can’t always stop thinking about business. Here are a few things I’ve noticed.
1.) Play Down the Center
This is the hardest part for me to do, but it makes sense. If you play in the center, you can carefully control your pieces and view your opponent’s pieces. In business, it is often challenging to be “Politically Correct”. However, if you play in the center, you will build more bridges and learn more about people who can help you and vice versa!
2.) Always Watch Your Opponents Last Move
If you are constantly worried about your competition, this could backfire or be counter-productive. Do you remember the Watergate Scandal? However, it is important to understand the last moves of your competition – good or bad – and keep that in mind as you move your company forward.
3.) Don’t Underestimate the Pawns
Listen, in business you really need to put your ego in check. I know everyone has mentioned you need access to power and to be very careful with your time. However, some of the most important people are the receptionists, the assistants, and the actual employees. Case example: I was at a trade show with one of my employees who had been with us for years. I left the booth for a while and when I returned she promptly told me, “This jerk came by and asked for you. I tried to talk to him and he said have her call me.” This guy happened to be a President of a company that I wanted to partner with. To be 100% honest, I never called him back. If you cannot be nice to my employees, why would I even remotely think you are a good person to do business with?
4.) Don’t Move Your Queen Out to Early
Your queen is your very best piece and you want to pull her out when the timing is right. In business we are taught to put your “Best Foot Forward” and I agree wholeheartedly with this. However, unless you are truly in a deal that can be mutually beneficial; do not pull out your best pieces unless the timing is right.
5.) Protect Your King
Your King is the game. In business, your king is your business. This means you need to protect your business. Too many times we have hired the wrong people, who can quickly take down the morale, productivity, or purpose of the group. Too many times, we took on “deals” that almost came too easily and ended up being lopsided. If you treat your business as your King and look to work with other Kings you will have a much better chance to survive and even thrive during challenging economic times!
Chess and Business are fun. If you ever stop by Saint Louis, you really need to check out the “Club”. Maybe we can even play a game of chess!