Win the NEW Game of Business!

by Mitch Axelrod

Are You Ready to Be a Game Changer?

How has the business game changed for you these past few years? For most of us, the answer is, "profoundly!"

The old game is over. The new game is here. It requires new thinking, new strategies, new skills, a new game plan, new playbook and new plays. Here are 10 key distinctions of the new game of business!

1. New World: The Age of Interdependence Changes Everything!

Welcome to the new age of interdependence, where everyone and everything is interconnected. In the new game, your team is as important as your talent. Find the best players you can, and team up with them. Align with people who bring out your best. Be a player who makes other players better. 

Assemble your team.

2. New Rule: Caveat Vendidor — Let the Seller Beware!

The fundamental principle of the old game was, Caveat Emptor: Let the buyer beware! The bedrock principle of the new game is, Caveat vendidor! Let the seller beware!

Today, the buyer has the power, influence and control. As people exercise their power to choose, they exert greater influence in the marketplace. This is the seismic shift.

Embrace "Caveat Vendidor" — Let the Seller Beware.

3. New Thinking: Throw the Box Away.

It's not just business; it's personal!

For years, I have encouraged people to throw the box away and become a no-box thinker! Start with this new thinking: it's not just business—it's personal!

Work is personal. So is buying. You buy from people you like, from companies that appreciate you. A new game business treats people like people, not accounts or transactions. They relate to a person as a human being with a heart, mind and soul. Embrace no-box thinking.

It's not just business, it's personal!"

4. New Mission: Put People Ahead of Products and Profits!

Products and profits are important, but you have neither without people.

A business is only as good as the people who work there, and is profitable because of the people who buy there. New game companies know as much about people (workers and customers) as they know about their products and services.

Employees have a vested interest in the continued success and profitability of the enterprise. Your people are the most valuable and leverageable "asset" you have.

Put people first! The products will be better and the profits will be higher.

5. New Message: You Are in the Transportation Business!

When I started in business in 1978, I answered the question, "What business are you in?" with one word: "Transportation! I help you get from where you are, to where you want to be financially." And I was in the financial planning business!

Whatever your product or service, you are in the transportation business. You help people get from where they are to where they want to be. To transport someone, you must know where she wants to travel. Ask yourself, "What vehicle can I provide to transport this person from where she is to where she wants to be?"

When somebody asks you what business you are in, say with confidence and conviction: "I'm in the transportation business!"

6. New Mantra: Love, Serve and Love Some More!

Axiology, the science of values, provides us with a three-dimensional model for human interaction.

Obeying is the lowest level of value. Following policy, procedures and rules may be important for the company, but it has the least value to the customer. Parroting "that's our policy" is anti-service and anti-customer.

Serving is a higher value. Old-game companies put their system above their service. New-game companies empower their people to put serving the customer above obeying policies.

Loving is the highest value. Loving is about how you do the job. When you care about people, they will often overlook poor service. When you love and serve, you are engaging at the highest levels of human interaction.

Chant this new mantra, and watch people beat a path to your door: "Love, serve and love some more!"

7. New Strategy: Win Hearts, Minds and Souls!

It's no longer enough to win a person's pocketbook. For long-term success, win their hearts, minds and souls. The guiding principle of the new game is, Highest and best for all!

In The Kabbalah of Money (1996, Shambhala Publications, Inc.), Nilton Bonder describes the essence of a good deal: "Maximum gain for one relative to the maximum gain of the other, and the minimal loss to the universe." In other words, the highest and best for all!

Good deals are good business. Play the game with love not fear. Spiritual economics is the highest and best game.

If you want to win hearts, minds and souls, make "highest and best for all" your standard.

8. New Solutions: Don't Fall in Love with Your Products and Services!

Wayne Dyer puts it this way: "Fall in love with what you do. Then sell the love." This distinction sparks heated debates. It gets product people all riled up.

It's nice to love your product or service, but it's not mandatory.  Many successful people don't love their products, buy their products, or even use their products. People don't buy a McDonalds' franchise because they love the burgers.

Passion is healthy. Love is blind and can cause you to miss or overlook shortcomings in your product or service. What really matters most is what customers like and buy.

Don't fall in love with your products and services! Instead, fall in love with solving problems and serving people.

9. New Skills: Master the Tools of the Game!

"The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn." — Alvin Toffler

If you enjoy the game, you are eager to learn new skills. You hone your chops not because you have to, but because you want to. Every master is a lifelong student.

Most important is to know yourself! If you know yourself and you know nothing else, you can win the game. If you know everything else but don't know yourself, you may have success yet you will not be fulfilled. 

Know yourself. Hone your skills. Master the tools of the game.

10. New Money: Profit is Everybody's Business!

Whether you own the company or work there, profitability is your business.

Companies can no longer afford to keep redundant employees. Every position must justify itself. You lose traction if your role doesn't add value to the company or money to the coffers.

Continually look for ways to contribute to your company's profit. If you lead a company, tap the creativity of everyone in the place to find new ideas, approaches and strategies to generate new money. Whether you work in the mailroom or the ivory tower, you are important to the profit of your company.

In the new game, profit is everybody's business!

Integrate these 10 new game distinctions and you will win the new game of business.

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