How to Improve Your Work Situation

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buWhy are so many people unhappy in their work situation? Why do people, who are successful at one career, have such difficult times coping with their new career? These problems frequently occur, because conflicts exist in their work relationships.

Relationships between you and your work can also be considered the "games of work." Games have basic rules to play, which require specific skills to succeed at playing. People win at the games they play when they achieve the game objectives and by operating within the rules of the game better than others. The "games of work" also have objectives and basic rules that must be followed to succeed.

There are many different sports games and the objectives and rules are different for each game, sometimes dramatically so. There are three fundamental "games of work" that define the different relationships people have with their work.

Yet, very few people who participate in the "games of work" understand the objectives, the rules, or even the game they are playing. Consequently, if they blindly operate under different rules, methods, and purposes than the conditions their work relationship (game) requires, they are bound to create conflicts. These conflicts result in serious stress and very poor success rates. For example, if a fully uniformed football player clamors onto a tennis court and operates under football rules with football skills by trying to tackle his opponents, he will create considerable conflicts and will undoubtedly fail at the game of tennis.

The first step to succeeding at the "games of work" is to understand the objectives and rules of each game. The second step is to determine which game of work you are currently playing. The next step is to either adjust your work purposes and behaviors to suit the game you are playing or switch to the game you are best suited.

Rules to Follow to Succeed at each "Game of Work"

Lets discover the rules that must be followed to succeed at each "Game of Work." They are strikingly different.

1. Bureaucracy: Virtually all government and most corporate work relationships fall under this game of work. The rules of the bureaucracy game that participants must follow to succeed are as follows:

A. Do what it takes to protect or expand their positions.

B. Divert responsibility, and take credit for desirable results of others whenever possible;

C. Attend to the wishes and desires of those who make decisions about promotions, salaries, and work positions first and foremost, even if it means placing the success of the organization a distant second.

D. Recognize how little, if any, control they have over what their jobs will be and that they have little, if any job security.

E. Recognize that they are compensated for basically showing up.

2. Partial Entrepreneurship: Commissioned salesmen, multilevel marketing members, franchisees, most professional sports players, and real estate agents operate within the game of Partial Entrepreneurship. The rules of the game that partial entrepreneurs must follow to succeed are as follows:

A. Take responsibility for work performed and the results achieved in their specialized fields of work, but not for the total business, even though they frequently work within the umbrella of a larger organization.

B. Focus their energies on performing in their chosen fields and much less on the wishes of any possible superiors, or to extracting favors from subordinates.

C. They are compensated based upon the quality and quantity of the results they produce within their chosen areas of responsibility.

D. They have more control over what their jobs will be and they have much more job security.

3. Business Ownership: Anyone who has controlling interest (and many times non controlling interest) in a business plays by this "game of work." The rules of the game that business owners must follow to succeed are as follows:

A. Take full responsibility for their work performance and the success of their business.

B. Learn to pass on as much credit as possible.

C. Focus their energies first and almost exclusively on the success of the business

D. They have full control over what their jobs will be and virtually total control over their own job security (whether they know it or not).

E. They have no one in the organization to take orders from or to indulge, and they do not extract personal favors from subordinates that hinder the success of the business.

F. They are in essence, compensated only from the profits of the business.


Once the above rules are understood, it becomes easy to recognize how important it is to play by the rules of the "game of work" you are participating in to succeed. For example, you will clearly struggle if you play by the rules of a bureaucracy, when you are operating as a business owner. The conditions and rules of each of the three "games of work" do not change. Either you change to match the "game," you are playing or you find and play in the "game of work" that best suits you.

Michael Jordan, one of the best basketball players of all time, could not translate his huge basketball knowledge and skills into a successful baseball career. He proved that the knowledge and skills needed to succeed at the game of baseball are much different from those needed to succeed at the game of basketball. Yet, he thought he could easily master baseball, because he had been so good at basketball. And when he returned to basketball, he had to work extra hard to re-sharpen his basketball skills to his previous levels. Likewise, the knowledge and skills needed to be a successful Bureaucrat, Partial Entrepreneur, or Business Owner, are much different from each other.

What work game are you participating in and are you playing by the appropriate rules?

Provided as an educational service by Bill Dueease of The Coach Connection. You may receive a free copy of the article "Get Your Ideal Position: Go to Play Every Day" by contacting The Coach Connection at 800-887-7214 or 239-415-1777 or, or at

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