By Phil Read
It is natural to play games, but it is not productive - they are like bad habits. They are not productive because they distort or corrupt critical business processes such as strategic planning, budgeting, decision making, performance management, people leadership, and change management.
If my subordinates play the game of "No Bad News" - a game whereby they soften bad news in the environment to stay on my good side - I am deprived of accurate information to feed into strategic decisions. If people play the "Marginalise" game which is a game where certain people are sidelined and not invited to key meetings, I may miss their critical expertise in important decisions. If leaders play "Token involvement" - where they pretend to involve people but ignore their input - morale suffers, and good ideas for the business are lost. If people play the ever popular "Sandbagging" inappropriately challenging budgets are set, and performance is wrongly rewarded. If people play "Let's not rock the Boat" then responding to changes in the external environment will become difficult.
Hopefully these examples give you a sense that it is very important that companies get a hold of games, and start to manage their impact. Otherwise they can corrode an otherwise healthy business, and the long term effects can be very destructive.