ImageI have become somewhat fascinated by the game of Texas Holdem, not because of the winning or losing but the betting, gambling and general human response to the game.  Even a fairly good winning hand is no match to a bully with lots of chips that can out bid you.  In doing so they never lose it all but may give way to a mere token of benevolence for the pure sake of the game.  At the same time there are numerous players coming and going.  Each taking their turn to throw it all in to give chance to Lady Luck.

Businesses, despite serious disbelief, is allot like Texas Holdem.  Being a company with a small footprint, even with a winning hand, can be subjected to betting ridicule.  Sometimes to test the intestinal endurance of the business while at other times to get a gauge on your virtues.  Once final measured, and a bit of dynamic change, the dominant players go for blood.  It is then your turn to see if you wish to go all in, possible through a head-to-end competition (meaning you play conservative but definitively or you throw all in with the acceptance of a buyout).  Keep in mind that as you strategize and mature your business play that it is equally important to get a gauge on your fellow card playing competitions.  They aren’t without faults, habits, quirks and similar behavioral traits that make them vulnerable.  No single person, even Jimmy the Greek, was immune from fate and failure.

ImageEndurance is important, effort is essential and confidence in your mission is without question.  You may loose, you may find your resources diminished but having a focused strategy will provide the necessary fuel to recover.  After countless hours of observation, testing the concepts and seeing the reaction you will discover that there are limits to success.  Sometimes it is in the capacity that your have (or in cards the pot that you have), other times it focus without distractions and often our enemy is the ability to see all of the possible winning hands that we have not considered.  It’s like focusing on your winning full house (comprise of three/two combinations of similar cards) and failing to acknowledge that your competition is holding a better hand (possible four of one kind).  Sometimes you can get telltale hints from the behavior of the competition, sometimes you have to observe their customary behavior over a much larger timeframe.

When I hear…

Strategy development is not just a matter of creating a list of goals.  Its all about a program that will achieving success (or winning in the case of cards).  You should expect a period that involves observation, study and behavioral reaction.  It will also include the commitment to an approach, the monitoring of that approach and a willingness to make changes when it appears that things are not transpiring as we might have expected.

Many companies are completely satisfied with a safe hand (usually two pair) and fail to realize that there are at least seven other winning possibilities out of a total of ten possible winning hands.  I dare say that playing things conservatively can not only get you lulled into a sense of false security but it can also make you a bit reckless when it comes to betting the future of the business.  Again I reiterate that business is about a gamble, it involves capitalization, strategy, gamesmanship, vigilant student of changing conditions and a willingness to take some risks when the odds are definitely in your favor.

Looking about the landscape of business tough economic times brings out the good and bad in people.  Most opt to only bet on what is perceived as winning hands and fail to cease the opportunities that are before them (even when they are strong odds in their favor).  Others will throw caution to the wind, often looking for pat answers, only to realize that if these were in fact available that all of the astute would be employing them for immediate success.

Achieving that pot of gold will take time.  Don’t expect that a mere sprinkling of a few chips on the business game table will produce immediate success.  If left to Lady Luck we might even fall prone to making reckless decisions that can result in bankruptcy.  Those that do this have lay to waste effort that could have been converted but now face the more humiliating liquidiation.

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Yes, Business is allot like cards in capitalization, strategy, risk and human behavior.  I wonder…. has our business leaders been playing the game but failing to understand what it takes to win?

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