We have all played the parlor game called rock, paper, scissors, usually to decide who pays the check or buys the beer. The game is fun for the young. But we lose interest in it over time (saving it for the random moments when we need to decide who takes on an onerous task). The reason for our waning interest is that rock, paper, scissors is a game of luck without connection to any skill. No strategy exists that can give a player an edge when playing a game of chance like rock, paper, scissors. We don’t continue to play any game or compete in any sport or endeavor that does not allow us to create a winning strategy. An important leadership lesson resides in that fact.
The same rule holds true with work. When we don’t know or understand the strategy that will give us the winning edge, we disengage. We may show up because we are paid to, but without a winning strategy, we fail to connect the dots required to make work meaningful. Without a strategic edge, we quickly lose interest and only go through the motions. The best leaders know this and work exceedingly hard to articulate the “Why” behind the work and offer a strategy that allows the team to win. A winning strategy transforms focus and effort. Pushing that strategy throughout the organization is a hallmark of leaders who have highly engaged team members. Anything else is just a parlor game.