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The Politics of Scrabble

Friday night while some people were going out to dinner or the latest movie, Susan and I finished dinner and settled into a raucous game of Scrabble. Yes, I said raucous because when we play Scrabble, it is an intense challenge trying to beat Susan at this game. She is really good. When I was a kid and played Scrabble, I always felt that my vocabulary and spelling skills were a benefit to winning, and usually did win a lot of the time. However, Susan has taught me that it is not just how many letters that you use, it is how you use the letters. It turns out that I played the game and Susan plays the strategy.

In business, we sometimes find ourselves playing the game. We know what needs to be done and because of our upbringing and being taught an employee mentality since we were children, we go to work in our business as employees rather than entrepreneurs. We are in essence playing the game. Business however requires a strategy to win. Much like playing Scrabble, it is not the number of hours that we work that makes us successful.

It is the strategy in the way that we work that makes the difference. We can be employees in our business or we can create jobs for employees in our business. The choice is ours. When we are looking at our business from day to day it is easy to get lost in the details of our daily tasks. We become overwhelmed with the minute details, trying to play all of the roles that are required to keep the business going along the path of our vision of what it is supposed to be. We find it difficult to see how we can trust others to fulfill those roles and do the job as good as we might. It is hard to let go. The truth is that as we continue to hold on to our task load, we defeat the purpose of having a business in the first place. To work less and earn more. Thus we find ourselves burnt out, depressed and just plain tired of all of the crap that goes into running the business.

Many people at the point of frustration simply give up and go back to the world of being an employee. Rather that take the steps that could ultimately make the business work, we break down and give up, thinking that it is hopeless and that we can never change. I recently read a book called "The E Myth Revisited". It talks about business and how to shift the thinking from being an employee to being an entrepreneur. It is a very easy read and it has a lot of really good ideas in it. I highly recommend it. So what does this have to do with Scrabble? Nothing really except that without the strategy I usually lose. In fact in the more than 30 times I have played Susan I have only won one time. Is it because I am stupid? Maybe. however I believe that that is not the reason.

I believe that Susan wins because she has a strategy to win. One day my strategy will be as good as hers. One day I will win many games in a row. Until then, I will continue to work on my strategy. I will develop my strategy based on what she does to win. I will observe, copy, emulate and downright mimic what she does and then modify it to my own style. Isn't that how we win in business too?.


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