The Valuable Business Lessons in Classic Games
One of the most important rules for any aspiring business leader is to always be willing to learn. There are valuable lessons that even the most accomplished and ambitious businessperson can always benefit from learning, often lurking in the most surprising places. In fact, when consulting those at the top of business, the corporate bible Entrepreneur Magazine recently surmised that learning from failure is the single most important lesson in any business setting.
However, you don't need to fail at something to learn something valuable. Sometimes, the most important business lessons can be found in games that we play in our downtime. Whether you're looking to recalibrate your own approach to business or you're putting together a team-building day for your team, here are some classic games that teach us valuable business lessons.
You may already know that chess is a firm favorite of business leaders of all stripes. In fact, Business Insider even has a dedicated roundup of top executives who are chess fanatics, an illustrious list that includes Bill Gates, Carl Icahn, George Soros, Auren Hoffman, and Douglas Hirsch. This is partly because chess helps you keep a number of all-important business skills sharp.
Chess teaches you to look ahead and see the bigger picture, as well as the importance of making small sacrifices now for the sake of future success. Most importantly, it teaches you how to read your opponents and conduct your business in a way that allows you to maintain your competitive advantage at all times. If you're a real shark, you need to play some chess every now and then.
This might seem like an obvious one, but the lessons should not be overlooked. Yes, Monopoly is a board game about rent extraction and becoming the best landlord on Park Avenue. However, success takes a lot more than simply building as many houses as possible. In order to win this game, you need to be able to think strategically about each opportunity that comes your way.
Oftentimes, players win monopoly by deferring the flashy opportunities and, instead, building their empire slowly and strategically. In addition, Monopoly teaches you to keep one eye on your competitors at all times. The importance of this in business cannot be overstated.
The Game of Life is a proto-version of The Sims. It consists of simulated life choices that you players must make in order to advance in their fictional careers, where long-term planning and business acumen are essential for success.
Perhaps most importantly, The Game of Life teaches you about the importance of investing early and holding on. Compound interest is one of the main drivers of success in this game, and a player who is able to make a significant investment in a promising asset early on can reap major benefits in the later stages of the game. Play this if you're in need of some investment inspiration.
Much like chess, blackjack is also a firm favorite among business leaders. In fact, billionaire Alibaba founder Jack Ma has attributed his sharp business senses to his early passion for blackjack, which he says taught him some very valuable lessons about risk. As this guide to online blackjack explains, knowing when to "double down" and add an extra card is essential to winning.
While doubling down on 10 or 11 is usually the best option in terms of odds, many players do not do this as they think it is too risky. However, blackjack teaches us that, sometimes, risk-taking can win the game. If you always play it safe, you will never succeed in blackjack. The same applies to the world of business.
In business, you must be able to assess your options with a clear head and make an executive decision based on the information you have access to. There is no game better suited to sharpening this skill than Clue, the classic murder mystery whodunnit that pits you against your fellow players to uncover which one is the perpetrator.
In order to win, you must gather information about your competitors slowly and methodically, using deductive reasoning to successfully diagnose the nature of the crime. Any business leader will tell you that such skills come in handy on a near-daily basis, whether you're deciding on a partnership or trying to time a new product launch.
These classic games might be old, but the business lessons they can impart are timeless. Roll these out during your next team-building event to keep your employees sharp.