The Winner’s Game
By Colle Davis
Truism: The Winner’s Game of business will outlast every company doing business today. Why is that? Because the Game has existed long before any business thriving today. Businesses are cyclical, they come, and they go. The Game always lives on and is flexible enough to meet the consumer’s needs.
- A fun aside: On the back jacket of N. N. Taleb’s bestselling book Skin in the Game, there is a quote by Colle, yes, that Colle. Taleb has profoundly impacted my business and personal life since I discovered his work in 2011. “Courage is the only virtue you cannot fake,” N.N. Taleb.
- The valuable work of Jiddu Krishnamurti, whom I began studying in earnest in 2003, has taught me to be mindful and present. He taught me about living a life of freedom as it intersects with risk-taking, “This is my secret,” he said. “I don’t mind what happens
The Winner’s Game is not a game, it is the way one looks at the world and how one interacts to leverage the resources to everyone’s advantage, including yours, your company’s, and your customers.
The difference is in the distance of the forward glance and the planning and growth of the company’s future. So how do we measure our impact? And what metrics do we use to demonstrate success?
Most companies (large and small) need to know what Game they are playing.
The difference between being in business to crush a competitor, or receiving more media attention than another company, eventually burns out a company’s most-seasoned thought leaders.
Businesses that are in The Winner’s Game continue to improve their employees’ lives and their customers’ loyalty will boost a company’s employee’s average tenure and will also boost their company’s brand. It’s a win/win.
What Game are you in? Here are some simple questions that will reveal how your company is doing.
Rate 1 to 5. The lower the score, the lower chance for overall success.
- Excellent employee compensation and minimal turnover
- Accomplishing annual goals
- Receiving Free corporate media exposure
- Getting awards and invitations to speak at key industry gatherings
- Forward-thinking product development
Here’s the point, if you are only measuring your company’s success, you will be out of business sooner rather than later. But, if you are helping others, you are in The Winner’s Game and will be honored and rewarded for your input and efforts until a company offers a better product or service that fits the evolving consumer’s needs.
I highly recommend exploring the work of Simon Sinek, who is known for his expertise in teaching leaders to lead. Most Leaders Don’t Even Know the Game They’re In.
“The Winner’s Game’s rules are arbitrary and made to be broken. The real Game has no rules. For the 21st Century Game, play to improve everything you touch.” – Colle Davis
- The Dali Llama’s take: “Know the rules well so that you can break them effectively.”
- Or, as Picasso said. “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”
Here are five variations on the Game:
- If you are in the Game to personally win accolades or a trophy, you will lose. But you will win if you are in the Game for others to succeed. It may not be flashy or public, but the results of your other-centered behaviors will last for generations.
- Your win becomes the Infinite Game when there are no winning or losing individuals. When everyone wins, we all rejoice; when we lose, we all commiserate and go another round.
- Aim for constant improvement instead of competing. The value and energy will go to the collective effort. The long-haul focus builds a reputation and a legacy that are difficult to compete against. Quarterly improvements are for bean counters and stockholders; plus, they are also expensive.
- Competition vs. improvement: Where are they/where are we going?If you compare or feel you are competing, you will eventually become exhausted on your treadmill and go out of business. On the other hand, if your main aim is to improve your client and employees’ lives and your products, your organization will flourish. There may be times when the competitor is ‘winning,’ and you may be encouraged to play their Game (see above; you cannot win their Game), stop, and refocus on the needs of your clients and employees.
- Play to outlive your competition when you see they are playing against themselves. Use the mantra, “Let’s focus on improving our product/service every day.”
The Winner’s Game’s goal is to add more value to the user of your product or service as your company’s output constantly improves. That is easy to measure and is not competing with an outsider.
Here is an excellent example of two companies:
- Company One: A business owner who is out for glory and money will eventually lose their edge in business.
- Company Two: The person running the same company is in the Game to ensure her group delivers the best possible services to their clients. As a result, her business will continue not just to survive but thrive.
Stay in The Winner’s Game by getting better at what you do every day. Don’t compete with anyone; improve your character and performance daily.
For more on improving your Game, CLICK HERE to read Playing the Game. It’s a far earlier version I wrote about the Game, and it is focused on personally winning and is an excellent place to start.