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You’ve got to know when to hold them, know when to fold them…

jokersThis past week I read a great quote in a magazine, “You don’t have a right to the cards you believe you should have been dealt. You have an obligation to play… the ones you’re holding”. Memoirist Cheryl Strayed quoted in the San Francisco Chronicle.

What cards are you holding? Better question, what cards do you think you deserve to be holding?

Everyone at the table should stop and look at their cards. What are you holding? Are you in the midst of a downturn where it seems there is no light at the end of the tunnel? Or are you in the middle of multiple launches and running a breakneck speed wondering how you’ll ever get enough resources in place. As you look across the table – realize that no one knows the cards you have been dealt to play except, you.

It is easy to think of the cards we want to have, the cards we believe we should have been given that would give us a winning hand. Cards like… more time, more resources, or different customer expectations – then we would be able to lay down a winning hand. If only life gave us the lipstick camera view of the cards like they do on ESPN, then it’d be easy to play the manufacturing game wouldn’t it?

World class teams do not have perfect business conditions, there is no utopia. Rather, world class teams have figured out how to win in a competitive imperfect business world. In spite of the conditions (Famine or Feast) they find themselves in these teams thrive. Why?

They’ve simplified so their resources can succeed. They’ve prioritized so timelines can be met. They’ve taken the time to understand the actual customer request. (In sales it’s called smoking out the hidden agenda.) They’ve asked questions (Six Sigma 5 Whys) to identify the stress points. They’ve fixed their gaps.

World class teams understand their obligation to play the cards they have been dealt and they play them well. They play to win the long game.

As you close out this calendar year, you need to set yourself up for success in first quarter of 2016. Make sure your goals are ready to go when the calendar strikes 01-Jan-2016. It’s coming. It’s already dealing the cards. Are you ready to sit at the table and make your play?

It won’t be easy, however it will be worth the effort.

Be intentional