What Bridge Taught Me About Leadership

FIRST LET ME CLARIFY that I am not a great bridge player. I will never strive to play duplicate bridge or play with Warren Buffet or Bill Gates. Nevertheless, I like the games’ challenge and its practical leadership lessons.  While finite with the number of cards, players, and rules, it is also dynamic and complex. Here are six lessons to help leaders win more rounds.

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  1. One solution or strategy does work for every hand that you are dealt.   You have to adjust to what you have, rather than rely on a single approach. Your bidding has to be based on what you hold.
  2. The best plan shifts as the play progresses. Certainly, you can plan your lead, but the unknowns mean that you must alter your plan in the face of reality.
  3. Sound bidding or planning requires collaboration. Even if you have a fantastic hand or idea, you need to collect data before you fully commit.
  4. You must master the rules and also learn the strategies used by your partner and other players. Knowing that some use a bold strategy and others rely on caution is as important as knowing who might bluff and intimidate. Noting actual behavior during the game provides benefic al insights.
  5. Watching and remembering cards played may not ensure a win but it avoids flagrant errors. Leaders who only look to the future run the risk of failing to correctly gauging what is real.
  6. Mistakes happen so we need to learn from them. We cannot win every round. The game encourages us to accept and learn from our mistakes. The game reminds us to remain humble.[/message]

Leadership, like bridge, is fluid and multifaceted. Leaders must set goals based on current reality, influence and motivate others, establish systems and protocols, recognize opportunity and risk, demonstrate resilience and get results. Shifting from a static view of leadership, leaders face a more complicated and intricate challenge to balance demands, set priorities and align energies. How are you doing in the dynamic leadership game?

Dr. Mary Lippitt
Dr. Mary Lippitthttp://www.enterprisemgt.com
Dr. Mary Lippitt is an award-winning author of "Brilliant or Blunder: 6 Ways Leaders Navigate Uncertainty, Opportunity, and Complexity.” She founded Enterprise Management Ltd. in 1984 to provide leaders with practical and effective solutions to navigate the modern business climate using situational mastery. Dr. Lippitt is a thought leader and speaker on executing change, optimal leadership, and situational analysis. She currently teaches in the MBA program at the University of South Florida. Mary is also the author of Situational Mindsets: Targeting What Matters When It Matters.
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