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BlogAre Games in the work place a real problem? Aren't they just "natural"?

Are Games in the work place a real problem? Aren't they just "natural"?

games_naturalBy 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.


0 #4 LewisPepEB 2018-07-16 05:38
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0 #3 profile 2016-12-16 14:25 Quote
0 #2 luigi4235 2015-03-02 18:29
0 #1 luigi4235 2015-02-13 12:07

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Games of the Month

Token Involvement

To play Token Involvement, a manager conducts opinion surveys, focus group, or involvement meetings to communicate that "your opinion matters", but these activities are done only to make people feel involved rather than actually to involve them. The real intention is just to get rid of the complaints and for managers to show their management that they´re doing the "right" thing-involving their people in the decision-making process. The same game is played when leaders involve their direct reports supercially, soliciting their views on department strategy but relying exclusively on their views on department strategy but relying exclusively on thei own view. Cynicism becomes employees´ultimate response to this game, and they lose respect for management. Perhaps evens worse, when management really needs employees to be committed and contribuing to a major project, they have great difficulty securing this involvement.


Praise for Games at Work

jacopoA terrific read not only for senior leaders and executives but also for employees seeking growth in complex organizations. Goldstein and Read dissect the interpersonal dynamics that affect a company’s performance, provide a framework to understand the games that are commonly played in businesses around the world, and offer practical tools to correct these behaviors and improve the organization’s effectiveness.

Jacopo Bracco Executive Vice President DIRECTV Latin America

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