Market Force and Brute Force

One of the core, and seemingly more difficult, principles you must understand in The Game of Identity is the distinction between a Market Force project and a Brute Force project.

The best way to think about this difference is to understand that a Market Force project allows for choice while a Brute Force project does not.

A Market Force project is one where an idea is presented, conditions of participation are negotiated among all parties involved, and the choice to move forward is one that all participants make after they have mutually negotiated for what they need.

A Brute Force project has an entirely different flow. In short, an idea is presented and all participants are told they have no choice about whether or not they participate—that the project “is for their own good.”

Market Force projects accelerate more quickly and generally produce more satisfaction. Brute Force projects tend to languish and generally produce resentment from most parties involved.

Simple, right? Intellectually. But let’s consider the following:

  • Think about the colleague or client you are constantly pushing or cajoling into following through on their promises, so that you can deliver value to that person. Chances are that person is sucking more energy from you than they are producing out for you in terms of results. In the case of your colleague, think time; in the case of your client, think time and money. That project, with that person, is a Brute Force project.
  • If you don’t like how a project is going that does not necessarily mean it is a Brute Force project. If others on your team made a decision without your 100 percent approval, that does not mean they acted in a Brute Force way. The problem could be you. Maybe you should have negotiated a way to not participate (to “opt out”). If you were given the opportunity to negotiate and/or opt out, then just because you disagree with their choice to move forward does not mean you are right and others are working in a Brute Force manner.
  • Because you do not live in a laboratory, not every project you’ll be involved with the rest of your career will allow you to negotiate and/or opt out. Sometimes (maybe many times), you will find yourself working on Brute Force projects! Such is life.

One key then, to being prosperous, is awareness of the difference between Market Force and Brute Force.

As alluded to above, Brute Force projects are ultimately entropic—they will take more energy in than they produce out in results. If you cannot see this, and you continually engage in Brute Force projects, you will exhaust yourself over time.

If you can see that a project is moving Brute Force direction, you should be able to regulate how much energy you exert. You could, for example, negotiate to deliver less value so that you can spend time on other projects. Or, you could spend less time trying to overcome objections. The point is: Do something to regulate your output, or stop complaining that you are exhausted.

This Game of Identity is a marathon. Not a sprint. Practice monitoring your energy output in Brute Force projects; you will thank me when you have something left in the tank later in the race.
About the Author / Travis Carson
Travis Carson
Travis Carson is the Founder of Market Force. Having learned the guiding principles behind Market Force at the age of 19, Travis has used the material himself to help run four different companies, before moving into a training and coaching role in 2008 in order to share the material with others. Travis is a former nationally ranked junior tennis player, a seven-time nationally ranked triathlete, a three-time Ironman finisher and the father of four children.