Corporate Chess: Which Piece Are You?

No workplace is devoid of politics. As much as we lament the political maneuvering, we can't deny it exists. The politics lead to a variety of strategies that make some of us more effective in our jobs. And some of us less. That makes chess the perfect analogy for personalities in the work place. The only question is which piece are you?

The Pawn

The pawn is the most populous piece on the board. The pawns are the front-line, taking the brunt of the daily onslaught and moving steadily forward, despite the strategic turmoil surrounding them. Pawns are usually the first blood drawn in the corporate game, but nothing would happen without their hard work and sacrifice.

The Rook

The rook is powerful, moving straight forward into the fray. Rooks are obvious and you can see them coming. They are linear in their thinking, but flexible in action, always finding a way to go straight ahead, claiming piece after piece. These are your least strategic power pieces, but being straightforward makes them some of the most reliable and visible. They typically have a wide reach, are direct and able to move throughout layers of an organization with ease....and you will see them coming.

The Bishop

The bishop is a cunning personality, approaching strategy and politics from different angles. They are also flexible, and predictable, but approach things in ways we don't always see as straightforward. They can be creative and provide great strategic protection, able to deftly side-step the politics that might otherwise derail the pawn and the rook. They can operate across the organization, and make great partners on cross-functional teams.

The Knight

The knight is unpredictable and wild, but can be used to great effect. They can be brilliant strategists and can be hard to see coming and are most effective in combination with Rooks and Bishops, often protecting powerful pieces and penetrating deep into issues. However, they can be disruptive and their influence is usually limited in scope, but they are great partners for creating better strategies if they are invited to the board early on in the game. If not, they can be trapped easily and their power becomes limited.

The King

The organization's leader. The King can move in any direction they choose, but is limited in their ability to operate, often facing great scrutiny and political attack from several directions at once. In addition, they are often insulated and may be out of touch with the front line, concerning themselves more with the "power pieces". They are the commander and with the right supporting cast they can be a great partner in providing direction and support needed to carry out a strong strategy. Without the King, the organization does not function, and if they are checked, many others will perish in protection of a strong King.

The Queen

The queen has the greatest power and flexibility on the board. They able to be politically savvy, strategically sound and move across and up and down the organization with ease, making decisions and influencing outcomes. They protect the King support the other "staff", swinging a wide field of influence. Losing the Queen can be devastating as they operate at times with impunity and have strong connections to others. They are powerful and not to be trifled with.

So as you consider your corporate game, which of these pieces best describes you? What piece do you want to be? It's your move...

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