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Back in the late ’80s, I worked for Accenture. They weren’t called Accenture then, they were the consulting arm of Arthur Andersen. Right as I started, they were forming a separate partnership called Andersen Consulting, then they fully separated and became Accenture before the Enron debacle. But that was after my stint there.

Anyway, I remember one of the first things newbies were taught was that the phrase “Work Hard, Play Hard” was out and we were supposed to “Work Smart, Play Smart.”

I was all about that because I equate hard work with growing up in the country with lots of physical chores to do.

Let’s just say I wasn’t a fan of physically demanding chores.

It didn’t take long, however, to realize that changing the word hard to smart had absolutely no effect on what the company actually expected. Work Hard, Play Hard was deeply ingrained in the culture. The initial training involved long hours in class, with homework after and then late nights at the club where drinking, dancing, networking, schmoozing and such were the norm.

I’ve thought a lot about those two phrases over the past three decades and I’ve come to one conclusion.

I want to work smart and play smart, but most often I work hard and don’t play at all.

A friend of mine, Kevin Waldron, (http://www.waldronleadership.com), follows the philosophy of gamification. Gamifying your work involves a number of changes, but the bottom line is treating your business as a game you’re trying to win. There is a lot more to it than that, but my point today is that I believe it is a good philosophy.

But it is not one that is easy to remember. At least for me. I constantly get caught up in the fear of what happens when things don’t go well, or even close to how I think they need to. Sales targets aren’t met, Expenses are higher than income. Employees leave. Prospects say no. And on and on.

If you think that your life is over because things aren’t working out, that is a wee bit of pressure.

Even a tiny change of perspective that this is a game. “Currently I am losing the game so I need to come up with a new strategy to change from losing to winning.” That little change from life is over to simply losing for the moment, can allow your worry to diminish enough to free up the mental energy to find a new idea.

Gamification is much more involved than that, but it’s a start.

So, play hard and play smart, but make it a game.

The more you play, the better you get. The better you get, the more you’ll win.


Dr. Jeff

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