Book Review: Chess Not Checkers: Elevate Your Leadership Game by Mark Miller

Leadership is a challenge. Growing in leadership is an investment. That’s why I loved Chess Not Checkers: Elevate Your Leadership Game by Mark Miller. He helped me to do just that … elevate my leadership game.

Checkers is a fast paced game with interchangeable pieces. You typically think a move or two ahead at most. Chess is a multi-piece game and learning to think multiple moves ahead is key to success.

Yet a chess not checkers approach is not just a mental skill approach to better leadership, it all begins with the heart — a love for the people you serve and lead. Maximizing their individual gifts for a common goal. For myself, Chess Not Checkers taught me how to look ahead and lead others together.

In the book, Mark lays out a business parable with a mentor teaching a new CEO along the way:

1) Bet on Leadership: Growing leaders grow organizations. Develop your pieces early for maximum strategic advantage. Leaders are learners, or you are already lagging behind. That’s why this is a great book for leaders to learn to elevate their leadership game.

2) Act as One: Alignment multiplies impact. In the past year I’ve learned the power of clarity and the need for alignment. Added to that equation is also simplicity, a focus that pulls a team together.

3) Win the Heart: Engagement energizes effort. Forced moves is forced leadership. Motivating, not manipulating, moves people with a common passion and  purpose.

4) Excel at Execution: Greatness hinges on execution. To improve execution you measure what matters most. Such a measurement builds on systems not personalities. You can get a quick burst of success perhaps with a personality, but sustainable success flows from systems that work well.

I give Chess Not Checkers 5 out of 5 stars. Some books hit  you at the right time, and this one did. I love the teaching parable form of book writing, and when it teaches great lessons along the way it maximizes the gift.

My thanks to Mark for a free advanced copy to review. I wasn’t required to give a positive review, just an honest one. I am thankful how Chess Not Checkers has already elevated my leadership game, it’s your move to now read this book and pick up your leadership game.


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