Customer Reviews: Game of Work, The: How to Enjoy Work as Much as Play
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on October 26, 2011
Some say the premise of the book is that people will pay to play harder than they work when they are paid. However, the important message here is to make sure employees(including you) know how to rate whether he/she won or lost that day. They need to know what poor, good, and outstanding look like so that they can rate themselves every day, every week, and every review period. There may still be a lot of "Yes, I failed but the reasons are X,Y and Z" and the manager and the employee have to hash that out. If you, as a manager, spend the time to create the scorecard and keep it relevant to the actual goals of the company, it works. I've seen it be successful over and over. It makes it much easier to rate/review a person's performance if they can do it themselves AND it's accurate. The next step is to let them write their own performance review before you give them the one you did. Compare the two if you're using the Game of Work and see if you've done a good job setting goals and expectations.

The pity is that managers in the U.S. are getting so bad that they don't know how to make it relevant, or worse, don't even know what winning and losing looks like in their own companies. I agree, Coonradt's presentations could be more interesting but the substance is there, even if you don't like the form.
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on October 20, 2012
This book really helped me to create the framework a training program for my new employees and teammates. Also provided me with another way to think about how I manage people. I enjoyed the opportunity review fresh ways think about how and why people are motivated. Strongly recommend the book.
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on April 20, 2008
Mr Coonradt's premise is that people are motivated to work well when they can keep score against very straightforwardly measurable goals. To bolster this argument, Conraadt points to what people do in their leisure time, claiming that people like and are motivated to do their leisure activities more than their work because score keeping and measurement in these leisure activities is very simple. He also claims that people who don't concentrate on their scores -- and in particular how they measure up against other people -- are "losers".

One clear problem with this argument is that the book totally and absolutely ignores the fact that many people the world over spend their precious leisure time engaged in activities where "scoring" and objective measurement doesn't even enter into the equation. think of artistic endeavors -- surely a very important area of human activity! In many aspects of arts (most?) scoring and measurement don't have a place at all -- is Van Gogh measurably better than Cezanne? Indeed, that very kind of thinking is anathema to artistic creation. Or think of the hobbies of reading, playing music, listening to music, watching plays, watching dance, painting, photography, etc. etc. etc. Why do people engage in these activities with such dedication when there is no measuring or scoring of any sort going on? Even if you grant the author his sports-myopic-vision, there are many sporting activities where scoring isn't important to the majority of participants, or isn't present at all -- fishing, sailing, kayaking, horseback riding, hiking, etc etc etc. Granted some people do these "non-scoring" sports in scoring settings.... but I would argue the vast majority of participants do not. There are far more recreational trail riders than there are grand prix show jumpers or racing jockeys: there are far more people who just "putter" in their boats than people who race competitively.

So, really the author's argument largely applyies only if you limit your thinking to a subset of sporting activity (itself a subset of what he should in fact be looking at and examining) and ignore the characteristics of a broad swath of the activities that humans in fact find deeply satisfying. He's focused on a very, very limited slice of life and basically writes-off people who are motivated by things other than simple scores.

Meanwhile, many companies provide their employees with very clear score-keeping parameters and the jobs involved are miserable (I've had experience of that myself in spades!!). Bottom line: when I applied this book's arguments to myself and what I have seen in my 20 year career -- what I find rewarding, what jobs I've found most satisfying, the environments and practices that make people thrive -- the arguments just didn't ring true to me. It certainly would be very comforting to think that constructing a rewarding, highly productive and humane work environment could be this simple -- that there's a magic bullet like this -- but I think how humans approach jobs and how we respond to work environments are just like everything else in human life -- complex and, at times, bewildering. And it also seems to me that American business in these times needs more of the kind of complex, nuanced analysis and judgment that belong in the sphere of the arts rather than the simple score-keeping of football or baseball. There are many good business books out there that acknowledge that and give better advice on how to navigate this area.
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on April 20, 2014
This book opened my eyes to what I can do as a new manager! I would highly recommend it to anyone in a management position.
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on June 25, 2016
Chuck is a genius when it comes to helping people enjoy their work and perform at their best.
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on January 9, 2015
Will change the way you view work. This tool is a must for any manager that leads people.
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on October 9, 2012
I got this book for inspiration on how to win at the game of work. It has a lot of great ideas, now to just get everyone else on board.
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on December 22, 2015
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on September 18, 2009
I have used the concepts and measurements in this book to increase my on the job performance they have helped me get promotions and increases in pay. I highly recommend implementing the ideas and concepts in this book as opposed to just reading it if you do nothing with the concepts it is a waste of your time and money
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on April 17, 2009
This book was exceptional, I think it hit everything right on. I really enjoyed this book, Mr. Coonradt is brilliant, he covered everything in detail and it made sense, he offers such great advise. I have taken the things in this book and have implimented them into my life and work life.
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