Pegasystems’ Trefler on leadership and strategy – learned from chess – Financial Post

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I learned restoration, but, as I grew older, I had the chance to interact with customers. You can think youve done as good a job as you want, but what really matters is if the customer thinks you did a good job.

Q. What did you buy with your first big paycheck?

A. When I was a sophomore in college, I won co-champion of the World Open chess tournament. It was a very unlikely thing. I was rated 114th at the start of the tournament. My prize was $2,250. I still have a picture of that check as it was by far the biggest check Id ever seen.

I really, really wanted to buy this incredible calculator on sale. I came within inches of spending $240, and I hesitated.

The next year when you suddenly could get a way better one for $20, I felt really smart.

I learned that timing and choosing when to invest your money is important.

Q. What was your toughest job?

A. In my first computer science job out of college, I was hired on a Wednesday, flying to meet with a major New York bank with my boss on Thursday, where I was introduced as the leader of the project that I then learned was six months late. That was my second day.

On the third day, my boss had a conflict and didnt show up, so it was me and 18 customers. Sometimes you need not make excuses and to tell people, Sorry were not going to make the deadline, but Im here to do the best we can.

And it worked out.

Q. What can business leaders learn from chess?

A. There are three basic lessons. The first is pattern recognition look at the pieces on the board, the control of the different squares. What I recognize will clue me in on what the strategic approach should be.

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Pegasystems' Trefler on leadership and strategy - learned from chess - Financial Post

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