When one of my son’s was an adolescent, I have two; he was a skillful chess player. He learned how to play the game at a summer camp at around 10 or 11 years old. Once I saw the passion he had for the game, I embarked on a journey of exposure for him by way of lessons, tournaments, and chess camp. Our chess life was fun and interesting. We met some unique people in our travels.
At one of my son’s many tournaments he had the opportunity to play against the son of a grandmaster chess player a woman by the name of Susan Polgar. Not only is she a grandmaster chess player she is an Olympic chess champion. My son having the opportunity to play her son was tremendous. I imagine this kid came out of the womb playing. My son was close to beating him and it caused a lot of attention during their game. Susan Polgar showed a little concern and stood behind my son watching the game. I think it was intimidating but I didn’t want to make a scene. Well my son lost the game but he was one move from winning. If you know anything about chess tournaments the players write their moves down in a chess journal so they can look back on them later. My son met with his chess teacher and they went over the moves. He showed my son how he should have won that game. It turns out that my son made a good move his last move. His teacher said he understood why he made the move he did, but there was a better move he could have made that would have sealed his win. His teacher said to him “What do I always tell you guys?” My son replied, “There’s a good move and then there’s a better move.” The teacher had taught them that whenever they felt like the were making the winning move, to slow down, think again and look for a better move.
I thought about that concept. What does it mean? It speaks to decision-making and impulse control. As leaders, and or primary decision makers that is one of the most difficult things to do. Now if you have studied decision-making or attended workshops, you may have a technique or formula for coming to conclusions. However before we entered the information age how did great decision makers come to their verdicts? I can tell you one thing they did not do. That was not to go with the first answer. We sometimes fall into the trap of going with the obvious answer first and if anyone tries to get us to look at things another way we argue against it. That is why good leaders will have a person on their team who will play the devil’s advocate, that person who will not allow the team to enter into groupthink. That is the benefit of diversity.
Diversity has become a dirty word in some circles because individuals refuse to look at diversity in a different light. If they would look at it as people who come from different backgrounds, and experiences and different ways of thinking instead of race, religion, gender or sexual orientation, they would enjoy their journey more.
Even though I have studied the art of decision-making, I still struggle with making impulsive decisions. It is something that I am highly conscience about. Just slowing the process down sometimes is all we need to do. I also say to myself remember Deborah there is a good move and then there is a better move.