Who doesn’t enjoy a good game?
Personally, I love them.
Video games, brain teasers, IQ tests, card games, board games, you name it, I’m game (pun intended).
It must be something to do with the competitive nature in me. I love the unique challenges that each game brings with it.
Of all the different types, for me, board games are the crème de la crème. There’s nothing quite like sitting around a table with good friends enjoying a game over a couple of drinks.
The best thing about them is they aren’t just fun, they’re educational.
As a time management consultant, I’m always looking for ways to enhance people’s productivity and this is one of my more unusual tips I share with clients. Why? Because hidden within games are many powerful business lessons.
Here are 21 I learned from board games.
- People’s true character is revealed in games. Want to know who are liars, cheaters, and sore losers, just play a few games with them. Better to learn it in a game than in your business.
- Patience is powerful. Sometimes all it takes to win is waiting for your opponent to make a mistake.
- Strategy wins over power. History has shown time and time again that good strategy wins out even when the odds seem against you.
- Play Chess, not checkers. Learn to see two steps ahead of your opponent.
- Have a plan. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “Failing to plan is like planning to fail.”
- Be confident, but not stupid. Confidence is a good thing. Overconfidence, blind confidence and arrogance not so much.
- There is power in simplicity. The more complicated the plan, the higher chance things go wrong. Use Remember the Titans video.
- Does this move help me, hurt me or do absolutely nothing? If it’s the latter two, then don’t do them. Everything you do must be done to help you move forward.
- Stay humble, even the best lose. No one likes losing, but as Michael Jordan puts it, “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
- Manage your money wisely. In order to win at Monopoly you must first be able to have a set of cards, then you need to be able to have the money to use them.
- There is always a chance, as long as you’re alive. Never give up. That’s what Tom Brady must have been thinking when his team was down 28-7 with 13 minutes and change left in the game. They came back to win it in overtime. Every sport has these stories and so do businesses.
- Luck always plays a part. There is always a certain amount of luck involved in any game and business, but successful people don’t rely on it and instead make their own luck.
- Some mistakes can lead to good results. There are times when we slip up, only to find out later that it turned out to be a turning point. As John Maxwell says, “Sometimes you win, and sometimes you learn.”
- What happens in the game, stays in the game. Don’t let the game affect friendships and family.
- How you lose says more about you than when you win. When you’re winning things are good. Losing isn’t easy for some people (myself included). Learn to lose with grace and respect for your opponent. People appreciate it.
- People do business with people they like, know and trust. Honesty is something that when lost, it’s hard to get back.
- Be willing to take risks.You don’t usually win games sitting back doing nothing. Be willing to take calculated risks.
- Looks can be deceiving. If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
- Be willing to do something a little out of the norm. Sometimes that’s where your greatest successes lie.
- Sometimes a sacrifice is necessary. Lull your opponent into a false sense of security by sacrificing a piece in the game is one of the most.
- You snooze, you lose. Sometimes when you take things too casually, you pay the price.
Today, so many of us are glued to screens whether they are smartphones, tablets or our computers. It makes sense to take a break every now and then by dusting off our favorite board games with friends and family.
Monopoly, Risk, Axis and Allies and Clue are just a few that jump to mind, but there are so many new games today that take things to a whole new level.
All good fun.
The lessons are just an added bonus.
Previously published on the Huffington Post.
Photo by Augie Malson