What Game Are You Playing?

By David W. Favor

You cannot win the game until you know the rules. You cannot discover the rules until you decide what game you’re playing. It makes no difference if it is life or business we are talking about.

I have found a lot of terrific ideas that could apply. I looked at life through the filter of religion. I have looked at business through the filter of the best business practices. I found brilliant ideas but no magic. I even read that popular book The Secret and discovered there was no secret.

What I also discovered was a lot of variables and unknowns. I thought I had it all together and discovered cancer. Okay, dealt with that and got back in the game only to discover triple heart bypass. This was not in my plan. One more time I get back in the game and discover muscular dystrophy. I begin to realize that I don’t truly understand what game I’m playing. That makes it extremely difficult to win the game. You don’t have to be so dramatic to see what is going on. Instead of life back down some and look at business or better yet just look at your day.

When we first started our business we did a lot of focus on strategic planning. After a few years, we kind of expanded that concept and started focusing on business culture. It wasn’t until recently that I realized that what I was actually doing was attempting to figure out what game they were playing. I could not tell them, or advise them, how to run their business until I understood what they wanted. Once I figured this out I started looking at how these businesses were being run. What I realized was that many of the business owners had no idea what game they were playing. They were in reaction mode day-to-day. They had no general concept of what was going to hit them the next day.

The best that I can do, it seems, is to put in place a lot of flexibility. I started looking more at how you can do that in business and life. What I discovered is if you could define some general guidelines to live by, say your values and principles, then you can work within those boundaries. The same is true of a business. If you can define the boundaries within which you wish to operate you can then have flexibility. The problem is most of the owners I talked to have no idea what their boundaries were. Yes, they were focused on making money or on reputation, but they had no idea what the boundaries were that they were operating in. They also had no general idea what the end goal was or what their vision was. So the bottom line was they had no definition at all and were just working from interrupt to interrupt.

The other thing I discovered is that there’s more than one game going on. There’s your business, your family, and then there was life. We seem to be engaged in a lot of games that overlap. Once again the best way to handle this is to define the boundaries within which you wish to operate. So you want to remove the frustration from your life, sit down and figure out what game you’re playing then you can decide what the rules are.

About the Authors

Owls were considered creatures of wisdom and Dave Favor and Cheryl Leone are no exception as they write as The Wise Owls. With almost a century of experience together in business and life mentoring, Dave and Cheryl bring a new thought process to owning a business and owning your life. Together they live in Raleigh, North Carolina, and through their parent company own Catalyst Group, Inc., home of Wise Business Leader. Watch for the newest book Gone for The Gold: Self-evident truths for living and working coming soon. Questions? Email the Wise Business Leader (a.k.a. Dave Favor).

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