it’s just a game

April 28, 2008 at 7:42 am | Posted in Professional Development | Leave a comment

In a previous post, I talked about an exercise that a small group of me and some colleagues did that was intended to help us gain some perspective between work and life. In this post, I’d like to balance that point of view. Or, maybe better said, I’d like to refine it.

I was coaching high school football when the terrorist attacks of 9/11 took place. Like the rest of the nation, we struggled with the appropriateness (or not) of playing a football game just four days after the attacks. There were no “right” answers. Just lots of discussion. Through it all, one phrase kept coming up by well intentioned people. “It’s just a game.”

That got me thinking, “if it’s ‘just a game’ why in the world am I spending so much time with these kids?” It was a big commitment and it certainly didn’t feel like “just a game to me.” I loved those kids like my family. I was teaching them life lessons and along the way was getting plenty of lessons on life myself. Those things were not “just a game.” They mattered. Deeply. What I eventually concluded was that the wins, losses, and stats… those things were “the game.” But the time and energy committed was anything but. Those were investments in people’s lives.

Same for business. It’s not just about the market share, product, and numbers. Or at least it shouldn’t be. It’s also about the people. Every day presents an amazing opportunity-the opportunity to change someone’s life just by how they are treated. Rarely does that kind of investment not pay remarkable dividends in the individual, which ultimately leads to the best chance of success in market share, product, and numbers. Starting with the people feels like the right order of events toward success.

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