The Sport of Business

By Brian Ray, Special for  USDR

Humanity has always enjoyed engaging in various games of sport, culminating in the pinnacle of the Olympic games every four  years.

Similarly, business professionals & corporations also constantly engage in games. However, unlike the Olympics, the Corporate versions of these events are played with much more frequency. Quite simply, every day is game day in business. This can make the environment very problematic if an individual is  unprepared.

Since the business world is not going to stop engaging in all these games anytime soon, an individual must place their focus on how to navigate the waters and keep prospering even in the face of  adversity.

To begin, let’s look at some of the more popular events that can occur in the workplace, and some specific ways to deal with each of  them.

Figures Don’t Lie…Or Do  They?

The business world just loves to publish lots of metrics. While some metrics are necessary, in the majority of cases most are merely attempts to create the illusion that things are going better than they actually are. Additionally, many things that could negatively impact the result are purposefully left out on technicalities, or they are twisted to ensure control over the  result.

So to keep yourself safe, whenever you have to generate or present a set of metrics, the first question that needs to be asked beforehand  is –

Do these things add  up?

If they don’t, then do not be afraid to ask the tough questionsto the people who are giving you the input. Get all the details before proceeding, otherwise it could be yourreputation that becomes damaged for any errors or inconsistencies in the data set.It is an absolute truth that people do blame the messenger frequently, so don’t think it could not happen to  you.

The Hatchet  Chop

Without a doubt, the gold medal in this event almost always goes to CEOs. In particular,this usually applies to those CEOs who have been newly on-boarded at a given company. Since much of their contract and bonuses usually depend upon generating a large amount of capital in a short time, most of them turn to indiscriminate, massive layoffs in order to generate short term profits. This subsequently has earned several individuals in Leadership the informal title of “Hatchet” man or  woman.

Secondly, this activity is also done to appease the shareholders by generating the illusion that the current leadership is accomplishing something useful. The sad thing is that those who use this tactic live in absolute denial of the damage it does in the long term. They just continue to focus on instant profits instead of effective, long-term stability and consistent revenue generation, creating a vicious  cycle.

The other sad fact is that whenever this type of event occurs, it usually culminates in leadership once again collecting their excessive pay and bonuses, then walking away saying – “We did what we could.” – and subsequently leaving those companies as nothing more than broken shadows of their former  selves.

So, if you see this event coming on the horizon, it is prudent to begin looking for other possible employment opportunities just in case to keep ahead of the  curve.

Anything you Can Do…Still isn’t Good Enough (a.k.a. the Performance  Review)

Sometimes your good work will shine through and bring some great rewards. However this is becoming more the exception rather than the norm in business today. Quite bluntly, the performance review has become one of the Corporate world’s favorite weapons to use against their  workers.

It all begins with Management turning it into a competition, rather than an opportunity for improvement. By using different categories or “rankings”, Management gains virtually absolute control over the outcome. This is compounded by the fact that HR and/or the Executive staff usually dictates that only a specific number of each rank can be given, further limiting the  situation.

So, in many cases if the reviewing Manager is angry at you, or they don’t like you for any reason (no matter how trivial), they can force the focus onto the negative instead of all the good work that was done. By manipulating the circumstances like this, Management can ultimately deny raises, promotions and any other  rewards.

In order to combat this, there are some things you can do to help yourself. First, make sure that you save every possible piece of information on your accomplishments, and keep a log with dates. Also, keep them organized and all together in a specific place and/or specific file folders on your PC. Then,make back-up copies and store them separately just in  case!

By doing these things you will be prepared in advance and will not be scrambling to compile the information when review time comes  around.

Finally, once a review is complete, if you are given the option to add your own comments to your review – DO IT! In almost every case that will be your only chance to get your input & perspective onto the record, so don’t let it slip  by.

Play like a  Pro

Now that some of the main events have been reviewed, let’s take a look at a few general tips on how professionals can prepare themselves for those and other events as  well.

Stay focused on the goal and don’t get caught up in the  chase.
Only play the game(s) when absolutely  necessary.
Before you step into the arena, make sure that all your information is  accurate.
Be aware of what is going on behind the  scenes.
Look out for yourself, as no one is going to do it for  you.
Finish things on your  terms.
Keep these points in mind at all times and work to make them a permanentpart of your personal business style.Not only will this help you succeed, it will help you to avoid getting dragged down into the mud by the machinations of  others.

Brian Ray is a Business & Management Consultant with over 20 years of experience in the field, working with several of the largest companies in the world. Brian is also a Speaker/Corporate Trainer specializing in promoting positive changes in business and  people.

He is the author of: Revelations Incorporated :The Disturbing Truth of the Business World & Workplace  Culture,

Revelations Incorporated is available for purchase at Amazon and Kindle.

Additionally, he is a contributing writer/blogger to the CEO Magazine at:




All opinions expressed on USDR are those of the author and not necessarily those of US Daily Review.