The Winter Olympic Games are going strong as I write this article. The Winter Olympic games began in 1924 and occur once every four years. The variety of different sports, competition, and human interest stories are always compelling. I have come to the realization that in a very real sense, in my work with various business owners and their companies, that they are all involved in a game. The comparisons to a game are so evident that one of the great business books is entitled, The Great Game of Business, by Jack Stack. Stack said in his book, “Business is not an art or a science. It’s a competitive undertaking with rules, winners and losers, ways of keeping score, and all elements of luck and talent(Stack, p.2).” How is running a business comparable to playing a game? Below I list a few parallels.
- Businesses perform and succeed on different levels. There are gold medal companies, silver medal companies, and bronze medal companies. There are also the majority who don’t perform on any of the medal levels. Every company’s goal should be to attain the gold medal level. That is where the highest value is attained, both monetarily and as a contribution to society.
- Preparation is the key to success. The participants in the Olympics have dedicated themselves to four years of intense preparation in order to achieve the highest level possible. It is the same in business. A great, valuable, and enduring company does not just happen. It is the result of meticulous preparation and execution in all facets of the business which leads to the next point.
- Daily discipline is required to attain the goal. The top performing athletes in the Olympics have disciplined themselves in every area (practice, diet, rest, and mentally) daily in order to win the medal. For a company to achieve its highest attainable goal, daily dedication to all of the details that ensure success must be the standard. It starts with the leader and works its way throughout the whole team.
*Stack, Jack, (1992, 2013) The Great Game of Business