The queen's gambit. Source: Netflix

The Queen’s gambit

The Queen’s gambit or the importance of having a referent

Last week, I finished watching The Queen’s gambit series…this pandemic has increased the time I spend watching TV. Good thing is I discovered interesting stuff. Things that are worth to reflect about.

It seems that in a couple of months the number of registered subscribers in different chess online apps boosted; because of The Queen’s gambit launch.

Yesterday, reading this article (in Spanish) about the success of this series and the impact on the number of chess players, I thought of the importance of having referents. And, how these referents can change the way we tap into new fields and discover new things.

Suddenly, many people are interested in learning about something new just because they want to model what they saw; maybe thinking in being like her, Beth Harmon, or just to try something different, unknown.

If modelling what others do is one of the most powerful ways of learning, giving example is one of the best ways of teaching.

This is the learning I want to bring here today: the power of leading by example.

People are influenced by our actions. When you lead by example, you shape what is possible. Your team can say: well if she can do it, we can do it.

You can influence people to behave and respond in valuable ways. Put another way, people watch your feet more than your lips.

In leading, we need to be clear about what is important and what we want from others: be sure that your actions support that.

How can you provide a role model for the critical behaviours you want to promote?

  • Identify the desired behaviours and define how them match with your corporate culture. If there is a mismatch, you probably have a hard work there (not enough room to cover this now) and you need to know.
  • Communicate what you need and what you want. Tell them what you’ll do next and why. Giving your people a sense of purpose will help.
  • Choose where to start: where the smallest change can make the biggest impact? Remember this is a journey. Nothing happens from morning to night.
  • Show others you’re willing to listen and improve. This should not be a solo mission. Create the conditions for everyone to open up and share what to do next. If you want others to improve, you should be the first one interested in your own development.
  • Don’t miss the big picture. We’re all humans. We do things wrong: acknowledge and move on. You don’t need to be perfect; you need to be coherent.

To finish with another great reference, I strongly recommend you to watch Invictus. Besides it is a great film, it is also a great example of how leading by example can completely change results.