Play the Player or the Game?

There is a lot written about whether you should play the game or the player you are playing against.

You see it in many sports games, where a player realizes the instant that they can’t win the game, so they start playing the player.

Here’s the thing, when you play the player, you are no longer playing the game, you’re playing something else completely different, but it’s not the game.

If you can’t beat them at the game you are in, create a new one that they don’t know they are in.

This can work, this can be a strategy.

But it won’t work in the long-run, because while everyone else is figuring out how to play the game better, the one game better, you are busy trying to come up with a different set of games for every player on the field.

Play the game, know you aren’t always going to win but keep pushing, because one day you will and it’ll be that much more worth it.


The Mercy Rule

However implemented, it’s a rule to enforce that one team does not lose by a substantial amount to another team.

I’ve seen this implemented over the years in fashion.

The worst way I have seen it implemented is when the team with the larger score, takes members of their team off the field.

Why is this the wrong way?

  • Invariably, the mismatch is not by numbers but by skill so there is a good chance the other team will score again.
  • You are blatantly saying to the other team – “we can beat you with less” or rather “less of our players are worth more of yours”.

At that point in the game, the message being sent to the losing team is – “look, you’re probably still going to lose, but while you’re at, we’re going to take you down a few more pegs to be sure.”

Still not sure if you agree?

Apply it to your current team, they are underperforming, not doing well, going through a rough patch compared to some of the other groups (it happens) so what are you going to do?

Show them up against another team that is excelling right now and show them how well that team is doing compared to them?


How To Start Leading a Team

Meet with your team.

Spend an hour with each person.

Get to know them.

Understand what makes them produce all the great work that they do.

Understand what ticks them off.

Rinse and Repeat with every person on your team.

Once you’ve done that, come up with a plan that addresses their weaknesses and leverages their strengths.

If you have yet to do this, do it now.

It’s not a question of you should be doing this, it’s a question that you must.

Hope that they leap over you

When you hire a new person for your team, you always want to have that little voice inside your head saying – “I think this person can be better me”.

If you do, hire them.

If you don’t, don’t hire them.

As a Leader, your job is to make sure that every person leaps over you, maybe switching groups, taking on new projects, leaving the organization, whatever it is.

You always want people that can have the ability to surpass you.

For the one reason – that no matter where they land, no matter where you land – you will push each other to become that much better than if you were not together.

The Turning Point in Leading Your Team

As a leader, you know there is much more work to accomplish than your time will permit.

So does your team.

If you’ve done things correctly in setting up and leading your team then you’ll know it when you are sitting down for your regular team meeting and you pull out the list of work to do, taking tasks for yourself only to have members of your team jump in and take them for you.

“We need you to do this, we’ll take those tasks for you.”

That’s the Turning Point when your team has become something much more, much greater than your run-of-the-mill team.