Be a Career Grandmaster

Written by
John Wood
Feb 19, 2024

The best chess players, Grandmasters, are constantly plotting their next moves in games, sometimes as many as 10 or 15 moves ahead. And always with the endgame in mind – ideally, a checkmate, where they win the game. At the very least, their plan is not to lose, even if things go against them.

Every time their opponent makes a move, they re-evaluate their strategy and determine if the course of action they planned is still valid to achieve that end result. If it is, they continue on their original path. If something significant has changed, they adapt and plot a new series of moves, still focused on the endgame.

Career plotting should be no different, yet it very rarely happens. We should all have a clearly defined endgame. Where do I want to be financially and why? What role level do I want to reach? What do I enjoy doing the most with my working days? When do I want to arrive at these respective stages? And so on…

Having determined the endgame, we then have to know the moves we need to make to get there. When should those moves happen? How do I make them happen? Do I have all the tools that I’ll need to ensure that I can make those moves successfully? If there are gaps, do I have a mentor in place to advise me how to proceed?

What I see, time and time again, from thousands of headhunt interviews and coaching conversations, is people – often very senior people – who don’t have an endgame and who, consequently, don’t have a strategy & don’t make the right moves. Often, they are totally unaware that these critical components either exist, or are missing from their own situation.  

The end result is inevitable. They end up in a career destination that they absolutely did not intend and which, consequently, they do not enjoy and which leaves them unfulfilled. Moreover, they cost themselves significant amounts of time, stress, dissatisfaction and, without realising it, incur substantial financial losses over the course of their career.

They have played a poor game and, ultimately, they have checkmated themselves.

Career Grandmasters are rare. They have an endgame. They strategise. They plan ahead. They respond and adapt to changing circumstances. They only make the moves that count and at the right times. They have all the necessary tools in their kitbag and all the requisite weapons in their armoury. They have mentors. They end up where they always intended to be and they reap the rewards – financially, professionally and personally. They are never checkmated. They win – every time.

My passion is creating Career Grandmasters. Click below to find out more…

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John Wood

John Wood is a hugely experienced C-Level Exec Candidate Coach, who has also run his own Executive Search Consultancy for the last 20+ years, headhunting critical senior roles for corporates, SMEs and start-ups. He understands, in depth, how hiring organisations think & operate. And, he knows what works - & what doesn't work! - for Exec Candidates who want to secure their ideal role. He founded Career Grandmaster & developed his unique CGX System to help ambitious Execs to accelerate their career aspirations.