I’m not a gamer in the traditional sense of having a controller in my hand and watching a game playout on a television screen, but almost every day in my home, at any given hour you will find my husband and I, eye to eye, a Scrabble Board between us. This article by Shellie Karabell puts into words what I have always known. Playing Scrabble, in a strategic manner, makes me a better business person, problem solver and leader. Maximizing what you have, not what you wish you had, makes you a better strategist. Enjoy the read!
From: Forbes Magazine
Author: Shellie Karabell
Play enough Scrabble and you will come to view the world around you differently. You will look at risk differently. You will look at opportunities differently. Entrepreneurs may come up with ideas different enough from the competition to be successful. Playing challenging games such as Scrabble may even help you to keep your wits about you as you get older.
Indeed, I am firmly convinced there are axioms embedded in the principles of the game of Scrabble which are applicable to quotidian life and certainly to life in the business world.
Here’s what playing Scrabble – successfully, I might add – for the past four decades has taught me about leadership and thinking strategically:
1. There are two types of “players” in the world: those who see what they have, where it fits, and then use it to the best of their ability; and then there are the others who see only what they don’t have and spend the rest of their turn bemoaning what isn’t there. Guess who wins?
2. You learn to build on what’s gone before. Hence, “ally” can become “laterally,” and so on.
3. You learn that not everything is a major strategic victory; sometimes a “quick win” is the best you can do – like adding a “s” to "house."
4. You learn to dump what you don’t need. Like when you have five vowels (refer to No. 2 and No. 3 above).
5. You learn how to handle potential problems – like getting stuck with a “q” or a “z” in the last minutes of the game. You learn to use it to your advantage while not throwing it to your opponent(s) to use to beat you.
6. You learn the need to open up, put letters out there so the game doesn’t become too inner-focused with nowhere to go. Just for the good of the game, to make things interesting, to give others a chance to excel, too.
7. You learn to capitalize on your surroundings: like making sure you put a “k” over that “triple-letter” square, or position your word over the “triple word’ square.
8. You learn not to leave yourself vulnerable. Like ending that noun containing the Z and Q and X just in front of an empty triple-word score square so your opponent can make a plural out of it and get points for all your hard work.
9. You bone up on the rules – not just of the game (which helps you avoid penalties) , but the rules pertaining to those weird things like two-letter words which can help you get rids of letters – including clumsy letters like the “q.”
10. You realize that there is still an element of luck involved over which you have no control. But you play anyway.