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 The “Inner Game”


of Covering Butts


There are three levels of political “game” playing in every business.


Most productive and well-intentioned among these three levels of business politics are what I call the WHOLESOME game players. Their agendas are comprised of earnest pursuits.

They are passionate about their lives and invested in making the most of their roles to nurture, enhance and grow the businesses that support them. They stimulate innovative thinking and healthy competition. They seek to make a difference.

They are leaders and team-players both. These are invigorating people who enjoy the daily challenges and opportunities of their lives and careers, who share and sweat and sacrifice to make a business work.



On the flip side of business politics are the MANIPULATIVE game players. These are crafty, strategic-minded, self-indulgent “hallway hoverers” and “meeting Marxists.” They carry hidden agendas.

When they’re not busy disrupting or fostering disruption, they lurk in the shadows, watching and listening and figuring out how to fold what they learn into what they can use for themselves. Government and quasi-government agencies are–like tape-edged mattresses to bedbugs–breeding grounds for manipulative games and players

These are insecure people who do everything possible to undermine and inhibit others, who never hesitate to cut quality and value corners, who expend inordinate amounts of time and energy covering their butts, and raising their own flags.



The word of choice here is malleable. It means easily taught or managed (also, easily hammered, which is significant). The MALLEABLE game players are really non-gamers, but will go with the wind as it best seems to suit them on any given day.

They aim to please, but not make waves. In a room full of foul language, off-color stories, sexist or racist remarks, they will quietly nod and smile just enough to not stand out. They will also work their tails off when motivated by a WHOLESOME game player. 

These are the people who comprise the majority of America’s workforce.


Like following the motivational applications of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (by rewarding others at the place in time, and at the level of personal needs that they will most respond to), you –as the business owner or manager– must be a detective to be an effective leader. You need to ferret out those whose self-serving behaviors are threatening to flush away your hard-earned business success.

And, by the way, if your business is still alive and kicking through this pathetic economy, it IS a “success”!

How to get started? If you are in the LEVEL I group above, you are already well on the way.

You would do well though to refresh your brain with some Google or Bing searches of Maslow’s Hierarchy and dig into the structure and meaning of it. Measure what you know about each person involved with you, and decide current need levels for each. Reward their efforts accordingly. Often, a news release or car servicing works better than cash! (And remember that need levels can change daily, even hourly!) 

As you stumble into individuals who appear unaffected by your efforts, spend talk time with them to confirm or deny the evidence. If the investment in getting a person on track is worthwhile, go FOR it. If not, let go OF it!

[If you want a little coaching with this, or have a particularly sticky staff issue, give me a call.]


You can save the economy by helping to move small business forward . . . Support those who support free market competition healthcare and job creation tax incentives for entrepreneurs! 


302.933.0116 or Hal@BusinessWorks.US  

Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You.
 “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!” [Thomas Jefferson] 

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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