05
Jul
10

How hard are you playing the game of business?

Here are the facts: Business is a game. You play to win. There are owners, managers, coaches and players. The “season” is 12 months – one game per month. You have the option to draft young, talented players for your team or hire experienced free agents. Competitive teams are always attempting to recruit your best players. You have game strategies and action plans. Customers are your fans. Some fans are fiercely loyal and will stick with your business in good times and bad. Other fans will shift their loyalty to a team that’s winning should you disappoint. Financial reports are the scorecards.
To have a winning season, your Profit and Loss Statement scorecard must show a profit that is equal to or better than what you projected. Your Balance Sheet scorecard must show that your business is healthy. Your Statement of Cash Flows scorecard must show sufficient cash reserves to fund growth and ensure that the business can weather a severe financial storm.
Yes, business IS a game – a very serious game. Careers, livelihoods, family security, retirement and more all rely on you and your abilities to lead your business to win. There’s nothing like winning. Winning lights everyone up. Winning makes you feel and act strong. Winning fuels a sense of urgency and keeps your business on the offensive rather than the defensive.
But then there is that darn thing called “reality.” Reality says, “You’re not going to win every game. And should you have an undefeated season, cherish it because repeats are few and far between.” Reality’s best advice is: “Be prepared and expect the unexpected.” Reality gives very good advice.
I know what it’s like to win and to lose the business game. Losing sucks. Losing brings you down. Losing changes your demeanor to the point where you cannot hide it from employees, family and others you do business with. Losing too often leads you down that dangerous path to high-risk decisions that rarely, if ever, end up being the elusive “magic pill.” I prefer to win and push myself to break free from my comfort zones. Comfort zones are safe and there is no pressure or urgency to push and stretch. Whenever I spend too much time in my comfort zones, my business and everyone associated with it pays the price.
You cannot win the business game hanging out in your comfort zones. It just doesn’t work. And if you already think you’re leading and functioning outside of your comfort zones, think again. I bet you have some wins you want or need that are within your reach – but you’re playing it safe. You need to dial up the intensity and live by the number one rule of No-Compromise Leadership:  “If it needs to be done – get it done.”
How awesome would the wins be if you played the business game hard and fast? I bet you’d break through some of the roadblocks you’ve been fighting. I bet you’d find that additional 20% growth. I bet your team would quickly shift their collective energies on the objectives and away from the internal drama and finger-pointing. Here’s the really easy part to all this “playing to win the game” stuff – it’s your decision. The question is, will you get out of your comfort zone and go for it?
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Please share your thoughts with me about today’s Monday Morning Wake-Up. Click the Comment button above.

Neil Ducoff, Founder & CEO of Strategies and author of No-Compromise Leadership

Pass this e-mail on to your business colleagues, managers and friends. They’ll appreciate it.

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