Monopoly® is the best-selling board game in the world, having sold over 250 million sets, in over 103 countries, and 5,120,000,000 little green houses. (source: hasbro.com) So, today’s analogy is no stretch of the imagination when I relate the play of the game to the strategy of businesses. Take a look at the following styles:
Player 1. Load it up, once they get there!
This player is all about the obvious. When they finally have the ability to construct real-estate, they wait to see what property their opponents land on, and after the fact, built up huge real-estate on that property – surmising their opponent will return shortly.
How it Applies?
This is the reactive organization. This organization was in the right place, just not the right time. They wait to see how an opportunity is going to play out, and jump on it only after the money has landed. Sure, they get the “rent” but they missed out on the big pay-day. Is your organization continually waiting to see what “is going to happen,” or possibly making deals with dying opportunities? Do you keep looking to milk dead end opportunities for all its worth?
Quiz question: How to know if you are the reactive organization? Ask yourself the following question: Are we really the largest in our field? (99% will say, no). Therefore, ask yourself: Do we believe we really compete against them but in reality we don’t. There are 10 others just like us, our same size, etc. – If that is a yes, this is you!
Player 2. Planning for your Arrival!
This player is all about the quick buck. This player will constantly move real-estate, mortgage properties, and do what it takes to maximize the opportunity right in front of them. Based on the hope that you roll a “7” (the highest probability) they adjust properties constantly at the cost of efficiency and any long term growth.
How it applies?
This is the ever changing organization. This organizational strategy (this time I say “strategy” because there is actually something in place) is to prepare for your arrival just before you get there.
Does your organization jump on every and any possibility that comes up, no matter the size or cost? Do you get really excited about the “next greatest” thing only not to hear anything shortly after? Do you consistency change “strategy,” goals, metrics, purpose, org charts, sourcing, and finances to catch the upcoming wave?
Quiz Question: How do you know if you are the ever changing organization? Ask the following question: Ask 5 or 6 people in your organization what your positioning statement, mission and 3 year strategy is? If you get more than 2 answers, or a whole lot of “I don’t knows,” this is you.
Player 3. Put it all on Boardwalk and ParkPlace!
We’ve all played against this fellow. They want the big payout and they’re willing to mortgage the farm to get it. Throw opportunity costs out the window, this person is willing to live in poverty as long as possible, in hopes of the American Dream Payout.
How it applies?
This is the singularity organization. This organizational strategy is to be the best at one single thing and nothing else. Even if someone is already the best, or has better resources to become the best, this organization is so narrowly focused on one thing, they miss out on all the other great things they could have done. Perhaps, they can’t be the best at one thing, but they could have been really great at a number of things.
Quiz Question: How do you know if you are the singularity organization? Observe your surroundings. Do you have great people with great ideas, who seem frustrated and rejected? Do you constantly lose smart, great people? Are you watching opportunities pass by as ideas are controlled by a tight executive circle?
Is there a right way to play monopoly or is it all luck? The answer to that question is for another day. For now, I would pose the question, “What type of monopoly player is your organization?” but I know many of you could not respond to that due to the eccentric and over-barring monitoring your bosses do of your social activities and the squashing of any social opinion that doesn’t match theirs.
So, instead, I will submit the following question, “What other types of idiosyncratic business monopoly styles are out there?”