A Fun Way to Multiply Your Results
by Rob Marchalonis.
Have you played a new app or board game lately? How did it go? Did you feel somewhat confused as you learned the rules and how to “play” the game? Business leaders can learn a lot from gameplay, especially by paying attention to the continuous improvement process that occurs with each round. New players have no experience, so they make lots of bad moves and mistakes. As they get familiar with the rules and improve their game strategy, they eventually get better.
Business is much like a game. If you want to win, you need to gain experience and play smart.
Each Decision Affects the Next
I don’t play games much, but recently I started playing a game on my smartphone called Woody. (Supposedly ranked #2 in board games and 4.8 / 5 stars with over 23K ratings.) The Woody game appears to be very simple – you get points by placing block “combinations” in a 10 x 10 matrix. With each round, the game gives you block configurations to place on the board. The goal is to get 10 blocks in a row, horizontal or vertical, which gives you points and clears the row or column from the matrix. At first, when the board is mostly empty, it’s easy to align the various combinations, fill a row or column, and earn points. Not far into the game however, things start to get messy! Your previous placement decisions begin to interfere with your new moves. Options you would prefer are no longer possible. What you hope for doesn’t happen, and so you must adapt and evolve.
Sounds like running a business, doesn’t it?
Experience Matters, But How Much?
The more you play a game, the better you get. With enough practice and experience, you will eventually improve and figure out how to “win”. Over time you develop and refine a strategy which improves how you play. You try different tactics and processes to increase your chances for success. The same is true for business, but the stakes are obviously much higher. How much time, money, and effort are you willing (and able) to invest in new business initiatives from start-up through cycles of learning and improvement?
Take some lessons from gameplay.
50X Improvement Over 50 Cycles
So, back to the Woody game, I did some informal research. In my first round playing the game, knowing almost nothing about it, I scored about 260 points. Several weeks later, after playing the game about 50 times, I attained a high score of 13,768, a 50X improvement!
Good news, with each try I got better at the game, and eventually much better. Each time, I made new discoveries and experimented with different approaches (about 25+ overall) to gradually improve my play. Bad news, it took me fifty cycles or iterations with many big mistakes and a few ugly losses along the way. Perhaps most importantly, this “experiment” took me dozens of hours to complete.
(For the record, my high score game took over six hours to finish. I’m currently taking a break from Woody!)
Lessons Learned from Game Play
Business owners, if you are thinking of playing a new “game”:
- Decide carefully what game (business, idea, product, service, etc.) you choose to “play”.
- Ensure you have sufficient passion, persistence, and resources to enjoy the experience and not quit.
- Save yourself effort, money, and frustration by taking time to understand the rules, upfront.
- Seek help, from others who have knowledge about the game, and experience playing it.
- When you start, proceed deliberately and carefully to learn, improve, and ensure your survival.
- Keep the end in mind, with confidence knowing that each round of play gives you an opportunity to improve and win.
Smart Play is Essential
Leaders, if you have money, people, and your reputation on the line, can you afford to play games? Obviously not. You must significantly shorten your learning curve and make intelligent decisions.
Consider the decision-makers in your business. Do they have experience, or are they learning on-the-job? Trial-and-error is a great teacher, but it can be costly. Is your team winning, and what is it costing you to proceed or operate with limited or no experience? How long will it take your team to fine-tune their strategy and who’s money will they be spending along the way? How can they learn quickly, and well? Learn how to help your team make better decisions (HERE).
Play smart in business by picking the right initiatives, investing in planning, applying adequate resources, seeking help from others, proceeding deliberately toward an end goal, and celebrating your improvements and wins along the way.
Win the Game
Smartphone games can be a fun way to learn about strategy, process development, and continuous improvement. Try some like Woody, have fun, and get better with each round! Then, take what you learn and apply it to your business – to sharpen your play, accelerate your improvements, better use your resources, and win the game!
Rob Marchalonis helps leaders win at business. Learn how he can share his experience, reduce your learning curve, steer you clear of pitfalls, and save you time, money, and frustration. Call 717-397-3444 or email Rob@LSP123.com ©2020
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