The “Go” Game at Work

Accountability Collaboration Teamwork


Partnership and relationship skills have always been important but in the rapidly changing ecosystems that surround us, this capability becomes heightened. More than ever we have to be capable of listening and attending to the agenda of the groups that make up our supply chain. It is not a winning strategy, if it ever was, to take a win-lose position in these relationships (unless in mortal combat of course). The most constructive position is to be abundant in our mindset; how can we expand the benefit to all rather than a “winner take all” approach.

In the literally acclaimed novel The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery, there is a great quote about the great Asian-based game of “Go”:  “It has been proven that in order to win, you must live, but you must also allow the other player to live. Players that are too greedy will lose. It’s a subtle game of equilibrium… what matters is building well.” (p 110)

I don’t know much about the game of Go, but I do know there is much wisdom in it. I think what matters most is building well. When it comes to working with colleagues or other departments, the same principles apply:

  1. Make it a partnership so you can both win.
  2. Avoid zero sum (winner take all) situations. Don’t be greedy.
  3. Build well. Be proud of the work you do and the contribution you make.
  4. Bring other people and departments into building well.

Who are people and/or departments you can better apply these principles with?

You may also want to learn the game of GO.

Live in the Triangle,