Are You Playing Not To Lose OR Playing To Win?
The great thing about being in business is the fact that you get the opportunity to play your own game. Whilst there are moral, ethical and legal frameworks you’ve got to follow, there aren’t really any rules, so you get to set your own.
Yet, it’s our experience that most businesses play not to lose, rather than playing to win. And when you play not to lose, you end up not committing a hundred percent. But when you play to win, you give yourself the best opportunity.
Here’s 5 Questions to get you Playing Your Own Game to Win.
1/. What Is Your Winning Aspiration?
The first thing you’ve got to do is go back to your vision and determine what your winning aspiration is and establish how you’ll know you’ve got there. Not only do most people not know where they’re going, but more importantly most don’t know they’re there at all. There’s no point having a destination without having some kind of measure to say, yes, we’re there (think the classic child in the back of the car: “are we there yet?”).
2/. What & Where Are You Going to Play?
This maybe in a specific sector, niche, or to a specific avatar etc. Understanding where you’re going to play also means you’re going to understand where you’re not going to play because too many businesses are still trying to be everything to everyone. It’s better to be specialists at one thing and command that market, you’ll repel some, but you’ll bring others closer.
Playing to win doesn’t have to have a winning element, but it focuses on serving a certain thing, and by doing that, you ask questions. So one of the things I always try and think of in business is if I was to ask just one question that could sum up everything that we did, and the answer would give me a decision on are we going forward or are we going backwards, what would that question be? Think Disney, who have lots of different services, values, standards etc. They have one question they ask to every single type of stakeholder they interact with:
“did we give you a magical experience?”.
3/. How Will You Win?
What is your unique proposition? What is your customer advantage? What’s your key thing that you’re going to do that’s going to be different to everyone else? And generally, there’s only two ways of doing that: one is through a low-cost model driving down costs, and the other is differentiation where you really want to understand your customers’ needs.
4/. Do You Have the Capabilities?
This is one of the biggest areas that most people miss; what specific capabilities do you need in your business to play your game and to achieve sustainable competitive advantage?
5/. What Systems Do You Need?
Once you have the capability, what systems do you need to put into play, and how are you going to measure success going forwards? By systems, it’s not just physical CRM systems I’m talking about, it’s about your processes, structures, rules that are going to build your capabilities and what you’re going to do to reinforce and measure those choices going forward. Because sometimes we go forward and then off track a little, so you need an alert to being you back on target.
I urge you to allocate some time this week to answer the above questions, because if you don’t try and win and plan to win, your chances of accidentally doing so are very, very, very small.
To help you, the book I’m recommending this week is Jack Stack’s The Great Game of Business, which explains why the old way of strategy is dead, and shows you how to educate your people in the rules of business, rallies them around a common goal, and empowers and engages them – all to give your business the best chance at winning.
Image by MangoMatter Media