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Donna's blog on coaching, leadership, and life

Archive for August, 2011

Chess strategy as a metaphor for corporate game.

I’m just learning the game of Chess. First lesson—the capabilities of each Chess piece. Moving on, I’m beginning to learn a few more dynamics of the game. Not sure if I’ll love the game, or if my attention span will allow me the patience and strategic determination that the game seems to call for. But so far, I’m intrigued.

One of my business light bulbs went on when I reflected on this important tip for a successful game: Although a move may seem appropriate or best for the immediate situation, it’s crucial to consider how your immediate move may impact—positively or negatively—the future of the game. Too many moves that seek immediate gratification, without this bigger-picture strategy in mind, may soon create the demise of your successful game plan.

Not everyone can be chess masters or handle the complexities of the game. Nor can everyone be strategic leaders or handle the complexities of the job. I can choose to pursue learning Chess, whether I’m good at it or not. However, an executive leader who takes on leading an organization, is under obligation to be a master at strategy—if he/she is serious about long-term organizational success.

When family trumps work.

Today, I am back to work from a surreal week as we accompanied my beloved father-in-law through his dying process. It’s interesting how during these times, there’s no question about where our priorities lie. Regardless of what needs my business or clients may have had, for several days, my priorities were clear. I needed to be fully present with my loved ones.

As I re-enter my work today, I’m reminded that perhaps it’s most important to remember that there may be times in our lives when family should be trumping work under less dire circumstances. Whether it’s attending a child’s or grandchild’s sports event, or tending to a relationship that may need some special attention, or simply taking off early to spend time with a parent or loved one in need, we have opportunities every day to revisit and keep straight, our most valued priorities.

In closing today, I’ll share a saying I have hanging up on my office wall: Take a deep breath. Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.