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Business Blog: Developing a Leadership Mindset During Lockdown

Developing a Leadership Mindset. By Eddie Czestochowski

Eddie Czestochowski of Cell Pack Solutions shares how his love of chess has taught him resilience and resourcefulness throughout his business career. There is no better time to learn a new hobby, and maybe change your way of thinking than during lockdown.

Eddie Czestochowski
I often say that chess saved my life twice; the first time it helped me get over severe stress, and second when a visit to a weekend chess congress started a chain of events that led to my early diagnosis of stomach cancer, but that's another story...

I was taught to play chess as a child by my father and played incessantly through my teenage years but then gave up and never played again for over 30 years. I took it up again at the suggestion of a counsellor who convinced that taking up a new challenge might help me, it was then I started to realise that all those years of mind training in my youth had influenced my whole business career.

I'm not the only one... you would be amazed to find out how many people have used chess to help them to advance through their careers; examples that come to mind are actors such as Matt Damon and Arnold Schwarzenegger, and football managers such as a Rafael Benítez.

Playing chess develops the ability to visualise, to look for patterns, to develop a good memory, to create short term plans and long-term plans, to be resilient, to never give in. You realise don't need to have more pieces than your opponent to win, you can come back from losing positions. It is a game that crosses all social barriers and helps develop social skills by mixing with people of all age groups. To succeed at most things, you need to be able to concentrate and focus for long periods. In chess you often spend hours watching your opponent opposite, sitting in silence. Doesn't sound too exciting but often in life in many jobs you need to have high levels of concentration in isolation.

We are now all living in a world with social lockdown that we couldn't have contemplated a few months ago. The economic fallout from this will probably take years to recover from. It's too late to affect the past so look forward instead. We all have time to learn new skills and what better skill to learn than chess, where you can develop a leadership mindset for the future and combine peaceful mindfulness.

If it's not chess, think about those activities you've always wanted to try and never found the time, think about the transferrable skills you may already have learned from an existing interest or hobby, reflect on how those things you've learned (or earned) can be applied in your business.

I'm passionate about chess (as you might tell) and I love to share that passion, before the lockdown myself and members of the South Shields Chess Club offered free tuition at 'Chess for All' sessions at The Word each Saturday afternoon, and it is one of the things that I miss the most. That's why I'm excited to share the opportunity for you to learn and to teach your children a skill for life - the Chess in Schools and the Community Charity in association with Chesskids website have offered free 3 month subscription to a child safe learning platform.

Later this year we hope to be able to hold a competition to find the best new young chess players in South Tyneside and I will offer £1,000 towards the prize funds.

So, get playing chess, teach your youngsters and I'll see you at the board.

Cell Pack Solutions Ltd combines the latest design and manufacturing technologies with an experienced team to provide custom battery packs for a broad range of applications and sectors from medical to telecommunications, rail to agriculture. Established in 1998, the ethos behind the company has always been "growth through innovation, great service and investment in our people", this has allowed the business to grow steadily and sustainably for over 20 years. During this time the company has designed and manufactured well over 3,000 unique battery packs, while establishing great, long term partnerships with a loyal base of customers and suppliers.

You can also read other blogs in the series:
Tech Was Ready for Covid-19? By Kate Anderson
How to Get More Sales and Enquiries from Your Website. By Carl Buckley
A Whole New Challenge for Employers. By Jayne Hart