Three proven ways to win hearts at work with the 3Ps of Balanced Accountability in the workplace: Personal, Positive, and Performance.
Today’s post is by Jeff Bennett.
When my sons were about 6 and 8 years old, in an effort to create an alternative to video games, I taught them to play poker. Okay, so that admission probably disqualifies me from any ‘father of the year’ awards. But in the process of watching them learn to play, I gained some fascinating insights both about how novices approach poker and, by analogy, how many companies appear to approach strategy.
It didn’t take too long for my children to get a grasp of the basic rules and hand rankings (three of a kind beats two pair, etc.), but even with this working knowledge, they weren’t very good at the game. What I realized is that without an intuitive knowledge of probabilities, they were focused only on what was possible, and not what was likely. This caused them to rack up big losses because they would keep betting on a bad hand long after an experienced player would have folded. In short, they hadn’t taken Kenny Rogers’ advice in The Gambler: “you’ve got to know when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em…”
When I asked them to describe their thinking, it was something like: “I will stay in, because if the last card is an eight I will have a straight and will likely win.” Whereas an experienced player would have looked at the same cards and said: “I am going to fold because if the last card is anything other than an eight, I will have nothing and will certainly lose.” My children were focused on the possibility that the outcome they desired would occur, whereas the experienced player is thinking through the probability that it will occur relative to other possible outcomes.