In Business, Every Game is an Away Game

One of the things we do to help our clients perform at their very best is contextualize business for them as a “game”. We help them see that they play this game throughout their lives.

This comparison is not meant in any way to diminish the importance of business. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. We intend to elevate business to the high level of sports performance that many of us love to watch as spectators, just to get the chance to be thrilled & amazed by the extraordinary play of the greatest athletes in the world.


We see our clients as fierce competitors and encourage them to play the game of business full out, to the best of their abilities, and to play it as if it is their hall of fame career. Which it is.

Once you strive to perform well in any game, it is in your best interest to know what the game is being played for, how to play it, and to clearly understand the rules you must follow. In business, these things may not be what you think they are.

In the game of business, your efforts and your outcomes are always being evaluated by others, such as your customers, your co-workers, your direct reports, and of course, your boss. Based on how well those people think you’re doing, your reputation either improves or gets worse with them. This is not a collective evaluation, it is individual to each of those people. While this doesn’t seem fair since it is super subjective and seems like a lot to manage, it is the only scoreboard that matters in the game, and it is what we are all playing for at all times.

This single measurement of how well you are doing in the game is what we refer to as “your Market Force”, and it is 100% based on other people’s perception of your value (not necessarily what you think your value is).

Therefore, in the game of business, your job is to successfully manage your Market Force and to grow it over time, because the better your Market Force, the easier the game gets. To do this, you need to remain focused on what is valuable to the people that matter the most to you. Your job is not just to offer them value, but to help them be more successful, and to help them achieve the things that are important to them.

What this means in a sports context is that you never have the home field advantage in the game of business. You are always playing on the road. You are always competing in someone else’s stadium, playing by their rules. And they are the ones who are scoring your performance. So, you better get comfortable with it.

I’ll admit, it takes a little while to embrace these conditions, because they seem so counter to how every other game is played. Once you do and you work them into your game plan, you are on the road to great achievement, fulfillment, meaning & purpose. Because helping other people win in the game of business is the only true way for you to win.

You just have to accept that every game is an away game.

About the Author / Tony Cooper
Tony instigates breakthrough performance for businesses through his fascination of playing the “game behind the game”. He brings out the best in business leaders by helping them simplify complicated issues and supporting them to gain new skills and insights quickly. Tony has been training, coaching, and consulting since 2002, serving his passion of supporting the entrepreneurial spirit. He graduated with distinction from Cornell University, earning a BS in Mechanical Engineering. In Tony's youth he was a nationally-ranked diver and Tae Kwon Do martial artist. And now after a lifetime of city dwelling, he is raising his family on a farm in Davis, California.