I’d be willing to make a bet that no one reading this post has ever heard of the game Nomic. Am I correct? Created in 1982 by philosopher Peter Suber, Nomic is an unusual game in which changing the rules is the only rule, allowing participants to literally invent whatever kind of game they want to play. Any rule in the game, including the rules specifying the criteria for winning and even the rule that rules must be obeyed, can be altered. Sounds like an interesting way to spend an evening right?
Now I’m not suggesting that the primary goal of life is to do whatever it takes to win, but rather introducing the idea that if the ‘set’ rules don’t necessarily give you the freedom to bring your best to the table, then perhaps inventing new rules might be the way to go.
Understanding that the rules governing business and how to succeed are never set in stone gives everyone the go-ahead to think in a different and maybe even radical way. Steve Jobs built his career around this idea, as did countless others who willingly skewed from the center in order to rise to the top.
Brad Pitt’s latest film Moneyball is a near-perfect example illustrating this exact concept. In it, Pitt plays Oakland Athletics General Manager Billy Beane. The A’s rooster is in need of a serious overhaul, but none of his scouts has any clue how to fix the mess. With his future on the line, and faced with a critical financial situation, Beane gambles on a sabermetric approach towards scouting and analyzing players’ ability to win games. Beane basically changed the rules, and in doing so he reinvented not only the way baseball is evaluated statistically, but how the game is played.
So why all this chatter about Moneyball and rule changing anyway? Because I’m trying to get you to apply this very same approach to how you run your business . . . to entertain the notion of changing the way you play your ‘game.’ Maybe there’s a new way of tackling the various challenges you’re facing that you’ve not yet considered? Perhaps your company website is in need of some emergency redesigning? Maybe now’s the time to implement a few of the tried-and-true SEO techniques that can drive traffic to your site and increase sales? The options for improvement are endless.
When things aren’t going your way, it’s okay to think outside the box, to revise the rules a tad to suit your needs. Yeah, a lot of the time your decisions probably won’t pan out, but all it takes is one correct choice to change it all. Whether you’re running a computer software company, managing a baseball team, or selling widgets from your garage, the chance to become a bone-fide ‘Game Changer’ is within anyone’s reach, so long as you’re courageous enough to take the risks that count.