This week’s Spotlight guest is Jim Egerton, owner and founder of Business on the Board, a talent development company that accelerates employees’ mastery of critical business skills through the game of chess in the corporate world. Jim believes that chess leads to better thinking, better thinking leads to better decisions, and better decisions lead to better results. In fact, Jim wrote an article on six chess skills that increase tech company profits - you may be surprised by some of them!
Jim first started playing chess as a sophomore in high school in the western suburbs of Chicago and his interest developed quickly. Soon after, a chess coach approached him about starting a chess club (which is still around to this day!).
After obtaining a mathematics degree and having a successful corporate career, Jim decided to start his own company, Business on the Board. Since he experienced the benefits of chess personally and the impact these benefits had on his career, he wanted to share them with others.
For instance, Jim explains how learning chess can teach important leadership skills like delegation. In chess, you manage a “team” of pieces: eight pawns, two bishops, two knights, two rooks, one queen, and one king. Each piece must thoughtfully be assigned its own tasks that fit with its abilities in order to accomplish your bigger goal.
At the same time, an opponent is moving against you and impacting your strategy. Some of your pieces must be delegated towards stopping a threat while you maintain the majority of pieces for pursuing your overarching goal. Such skills are essential to successful business management. It is much simpler to learn and practice them on the chess board, where the most a mistake will cost you is the game, than to develop them through making costly business errors.
Skills like these can have not only great career benefits but also benefits to general life skills as well. Some may feel intimidated by the thought of becoming an expert at chess, or maybe you do not want chess to be your thing forever.
Jim shares that this is okay! You do not need to be an expert to experience the benefits of chess. Whether you are a child or an adult, you do not need to play forever either. Even after kids and adults stop playing chess, they carry forward skills that leaders need and businesses want.
Therefore, whether it is just for now or for a lifetime, playing some chess is worth your time!
Elliott and Jim's Live Chess Game:
Jim's Training at Amazon: