My entire business is finding a game angle for resolving life and business issues. Whether it is working with an individual client or a corporate team building program, I have found that people respond to games on a very basic level. There is something about games that touch something in all of us. We like to take that journey back 10, 20,30 or more years, for some of us, to the days when our play was our work. There is a motto that guides me when coaching companies or individuals. Skip the rules.

Chaos is disturbing. Change is disruptive. Novelty is frightening. Why? Because, in these situations, it is impossible to feel anchored. People are often overwhelmed by the massive number of new rules they are going to have to synthesize before they feel at ease. And we have to feel at ease to accept the possibility of growing. Fear of failure is a very powerful demon and this fear is rooted in anxiety over making a misstep. To0 much time focusing on learning the rules both stifles creativity and heightens anxiety.

There was a study done where people were handed  an unfamiliar board game and were asked to play it. Their excitement level was measured - heart rate, respiration, etc. - throughout the process. The highest excitement level documented was when they were first given the box. The lowest excitement level documented was the reading of the rules. There is no way to play the game without understanding the rules. So the challenge is to get the rules out without the drudgery of having to sit and absorb them.

So, here is the way I guide individuals and companies through this boring step. Get on your feet. The new situation, whether it is a new job, a new relationship, a new entrepreneurial  endeavor, a new company policy or an entire company restructuring, can best be accepted, if people are given the opportunity to find their own ways of getting to the desired objectives. And, who knows? They just might find a better way of arriving at the same objective than had been originally imagined.

Role play works well. If anything doesn't work in their "rule choices", letting them know in a fun way (clicker, bell, whistle) allows them to make a new choice on the spot. Make "wrong choices" fun, non judgmental and rewarding. I've taught entire CPR classes this way. No manuals. No videos. Just a group of people stumbling through an emergency situation with a manikin. And every one of them passed the exam and learned and retained more from "killing" the manikin and themselves several times in the process than if I'd bored them with a video and lecture format.

So, skip the rules. Tap into the highest excitement that exists with a new situation and go straight to "playing the game". You will see dramatic results in engagement and commitment to their new world.

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