I don’t even know how to play chess, but I loved this book!
In typical Mark Miller style, he writes the book as a story, weaving humor, wisdom, care, and pragmatism in a quick, easy-to-read format. The main character, Blake Brown, takes a new CEO job in a struggling organization. Work is frustrating and drudgery, teamwork is non-existent, morale is weak, and customers are going elsewhere. The game has changed, old strategies aren’t working, and losing is miserable for everyone.
Blake begins to meet with a chess master mentor who teaches him four simple – yet essential – principles for playing a new game in today’s complex world:
1. BET ON LEADERSHIP – Identify and invest in emerging leaders. Mark gives excellent tips about developing yourself, your team, and the organization.
“…proactively develop your leadership.
The earlier in their career you invest in them, the better.”
“Leadership growth always
precedes organizational growth.”
2. ACT AS ONE – We know this as alignment, and it requires excellent communication. Mark describes it with a helpful illustration:
“Think of your organization as a car
driving at high speeds down a bumpy, dirt road.
The car will constantly be knocked out of alignment.
Part of your never-ending role is to keep the organization
aligned on what matters most.”
3. WIN THE HEART – Greater engagement happens when you allow people to contribute their unique gifts and work using their personal strengths.
“This is the way you need to look at your people.
When you deploy them thoughtfully,
you create greater value.”
4. EXCEL AT EXECUTION – This involves the important areas of resource allocation, measurements, and systems versus personality design.
“To help your team improve execution,
measure what matters most.”
There is much more in the book. I highly recommend that you pick up a copy today!
Any leader who implements these timeless principles will grow personally and improve the game plan for their team and their organization.
Which of these principles is most urgent for your situation? How can you apply new and improved strategy in your context?
Check out the great book trailer video HERE!
You can also find Mark Miller blogging on his website, Great Leaders Serve.
I also wrote a summary and review of some of Mark’s other books: The Secret and The Heart of Leadership.