Habits, Systems, and Playing Games at Work


The worship of busyness invites inefficiency. Efficiently doing what doesn’t matter isn’t effective.

Effectiveness is asking, “What to do.” Efficiency is asking, “How to do it.” Leadership is thinking about what; management is thinking about how.

Effectiveness trumps efficiency.

Peter Drucker said, “Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things.”

After “what” comes “how.”

Too busy to enhance efficiency is like chopping wood with a dull ax, lots of sweat with few results.

Repeated behaviors call for systems. If you do it over and over, create a system.


  1. Enhance efficiency.
  2. Boost productivity.
  3. Show the path forward.
  4. Free minds for greater endeavors.

Systems are a collection of good behaviors
that form an organizational habit.

More observations on Facebook.


Create systems by working on the way work is done. Systematize:

  1. Meetings.
  2. Problem solving.
  3. Crisis management.
  4. Constructive dissent.
  5. Performance reviews.


Lousy systems hinder rather than enhance.

Peter Drucker warned, “Most of what we call management consists of making it difficult for people to get their work done.”

Efficient systems are:

  1. Simple.
  2. Flexible.
  3. Meaningful.

Unchallenged systems become roadblocks.

Not repeated:

Behaviors you wish were repeated call for systems too. Leadership teams are so busy leading they forget to work on leadership, for example.

The folks at BIZGAMES sent me a couple decks of cards – games that help leaders develop themselves and their organization. I’ve started several meetings with the “Leadership Praise or Concern Deck,.” I love it because it provides a creative opportunity to work on how we work together.

Use games as a system to engage in neglected activities.

I invite you to check out their site and explore the Praise or Concern games they offer. The only deck I’ve used is the one for leadership teams. I recommend it. (Uncompensated endorsement)

Exclusive offer for Leadership Freak readers:

Use this code: LEADERSHIPT6FT for 30% off your purchase of BIZGAMES products. Offer good till September 30, 2013.

How might games help leaders establish productive organizational habits?

How have you seen systems work well? Not so well?