I love playing the game ‘Monopoly™’. I also love playing ‘Scrabble™’. In fact there just is nothing quite like the rush you can get from making just the right move at the right time!
Even if the ‘game’ is make believe and there are no tangible successes achieved (other than the adrenaline rush and the surge of serotonin) there is nothing quite as satisfying to me as getting Park Place and Boardwalk and putting up houses and then hotels!
And I can savor for months that eight letter word that used up all my tiles and gave me a fifty point bonus – especially if I hit the triple word score at the same time!
However, in order to win the game, regardless of the minor successes or plays, there are rules that must be followed. If you get the “go to jail” card, you cannot sneak that hidden card from the deck that lets you out for free. Someone will catch you – and it is just not right. (hmmm, no one I know has ever tried to cheat - have they?)
Living life and running a business is much like a game. There are rules that we need to follow – or “House Rules”. For example, there are codes of ethics for many professions that can be called “House Rules”. There are rules that societies and cultures impose upon us – such as the ‘business handshake’ or the small talk that many of us use when passing a colleague. “Hi, how’s it going?”
Many of the rules of Business are unspoken – and that for many of us can make the game more difficult to play. Even after having run several businesses, there are still rules that I encounter that had I known earlier may have made a huge difference in how I ran my business – and how successful it became.
Over the last decade we have all watched businesses tumble from grace as a result of breaking some of the rules that we all agree to play by. Whistle-blowers have raised concerns about accounting practices, discredited businesses practicing dishonesty, and even brought to the forefront socially unacceptable behaviours of CEO’s and other leaders, resulting in the company’s demise.
So what are the basic rules? I think most of us know them. Be honest in your communications, treat everyone with respect, say please and thank you, recognize those who help you and spend less than you earn are some of the top ‘rules of
But there are many rules that remain unspoken – and in fact unknown by many business owners. Knowing and practicing many of these rules may be the difference between success and failure.
We are in the midst of incredible changes in the business world.
Technology has opened many new doors for businesses. The economic changes we have seen on the last eighteen months have also affected decision making on spending and forced many of us to think differently about how we market, build and grow our businesses.
This new decade will bring with it a new, holistic business model where businesses are not just about making money.
Successful businesses are making bigger contributions to their communities and adding value to the social fabric that ties us together. Socially responsible businesses are adding to the family by being more balanced and requiring less time of the owners and managers by integrating systems that make for less physical work and more accurate reporting.
Business owners are recognizing that their companies are run by people with lives and are building environments that benefit the employee and the family. And more importantly, successful business owners are recognizing that they must work on their leadership skills and take care of their own physical and mental health in order to build a business that brings value to all and is respected in the community of workers – and the world as a whole.
Read an example of a new variation on business here
This is an era of change – and if one does not keep up with the changes – they will experience an ‘ice-age’ of sorts and become extinct.
So what are the new rules?
- Pay if forward – be the first to do the right thing or give the first benefit without expecting reciprocation.
- Make a difference – ask how can you add value to others’ lives or businesses.
- Make the world a better place – determine how can this decision, this product, this service can make changes for the good to the environment, the community or people’s lives.
- Take good care – good care of yourself, good care of your family, good care of your customers.
- Relationships rule – there will be no business without good relationships. Businesses need people.
These rules may sound simplistic and even vague – but in fact will create unfathomable change in our world.
The result? Change. Ripple by ripple.