Good morning SOTGC readers. This is the first post in the saga I’m starting called “The Hunger Games of Business.” Here is the premise of this saga. Almost everyone has read, seen the movies, or at least knows of the The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. The idea behind creating a saga that takes the underlying story (minus the love triangle), some of the events in conceptual form, and relating it to the business world (and this can be for any industry or specialty) is that, at the end of the day, everything is a game. I can’t think of one industry, one career, or one aspect of the working world that doesn’t boil down to: strategy, hedging your best bets, creating alliances, knowing your strengths/weaknesses, knowing the strengths/weaknesses of your competition, and always questioning if your allies are in fact your greatest foes.
Now I don’t want to make this sound like a dark and dismal saga, rife with paranoia and teeming with scare tactics (I’m going to save that for when I’m a mother.) In no way am I going to be writing a bunch of posts about people getting fired, trampled on, over taken, and used. However, if you look at your present career or even look at the next phase that you wish to enter into…are you aware of the strategy in place already? Do you know at what stage in the game you are entering? Have you thought about timing your entrance into said game with any strategy to get off to a running start? Are you cognizant of the game you will have to play if you want to succeed and flourish? Have you looked into the spoken “rules of engagement” and even MORE importantly, the unspoken rules or “hidden land mines” that will tank you just as fast (or faster) if you don’t adhere to and respect them? And once you have gotten higher on the todem pole, and there is less competition by numbers, but fiercer competition soley based on the fact that there are so few of you left standing…have you figured out what rules of engagement you will start to create to ensure your success?
Don’t associate the fact that there is business strategy that needs to be employed with malicious intent or even ulterior motives. It simply means that being aware of what’s going on around you and who is playing games with their own agenda is necessary if you’re looking to climb the corporate ladder.
I myself love games, mostly because any excuse to get really excited, high five people, and race around solving puzzles makes me feel like a kid again. Nothing gets me more revved up than some good old fashion competition and strategy. My favorite movies are ones where the hero uses their brains as much as their physical strength to outsmart their opponent (Usual Suspects, WAR, and Mission Impossible (first one) being a few.) My job as a surgical device account manager got a LOT more enjoyable when I started treating the roadblocks I came up against as a game, instead of letting it throw me into a whirlwind of emotions.
I reached out to my best friend Ryan who owns a start-up software and consulting company. When Ryan was in his early 20s he got a mid level job with a mid-sized software company and worked his way up the ladder enough so that two years after, when a global giant bought them, he was able to negotiate a better title, raise, and then went on to start his own company. When I ran this post by him and asked for his “pearl of wisdom” and what rules of engagement he used to work his way up so quickly he said: “Find out who has the juice (power), and who has the budget.”
Oftentimes the person with the cool, big title is not the person who can or will actually help you complete the project or goal you have in mind. Ryan suggested that you find the person that TRULY has the power (juice) to get the project or idea completed. And just as importantly, find who has the budget to even entertain the idea of what you want to accomplish.
So how about you? What are the “rules of engagement” that you need to follow or to create at your job? And if asked right now…do you know who has the juice and who has the budget to help you move along in the game…?