In my recent piece “Approaching Business as a Game,” I detailed the methodology behind the experience that seems to be lost on so many working class people today: actually enjoying your work. The simple fix, treating business as if it were a game, is something that I’ve utilized since I started working, and it hasn’t failed me yet. I’ve always enjoyed going to work–something about knowing what I was working towards, and instilling a good work ethic in my children helps to motivate me towards approaching every day at work like a challenge.
This mindset, the idea of approaching business as a game brings one aspect to the forefront: playing with the end in mind. When you start a game of chess, your goal isn’t to finish a game of chess, your goal is to win a game of chess. When you start a game of Risk, or a game of football or a game of anything else, your goal should always be to win. So when you approach your work–the thing that you’re putting blood sweat and tears into for (at least) 40 hours a week, your goal shouldn’t be to reach Friday afternoon, reach the summer or reach retirement. Your goal in the game of business should be to win–and you shouldn’t enjoy losing.
Playing with the end in mind is, in essence, a heightened form of setting goals. Enter your business negotiations, your interviews, your everyday challenges at work with an end in mind. Don’t just enter them to finish them, don’t enter them to get them over with, approach everything, everyone and every project at work to succeed. You should want to succeed at everything you do in business. If your ultimate goal isn’t success, why are you working?
Achieving success is where playing with the end in mind is paramount. This is where goal setting becomes paramount: to succeed, you need benchmarks against which you can measure your success. Setting goals sets benchmarks and allows you to use those goals to drive you towards success. There is an almost immeasurable difference between claiming that you want to “help increase sales,” and claiming you want to “help increase sales by 10 percent by the end of the quarter.” The latter is measurable, it’s time-bound and it’s specific. It is everything that playing with the end in mind is about.
It’s important that, in business as well as in life, we don’t get too far ahead of ourselves. Playing with the end in mind doesn’t mean the end of your business career or the end of your employment, it means the end of whatever is in front of you. By approaching work as a game, you should naturally begin looking at not only what it takes to win that game, but how you’ll get there. Strategizing like this is what will eventually lead to success in business, and winning the game.