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About the Book

Cover Art - Games at WorkAs long as people have worked together, they have engaged in political games. Motivated by short-term gains—promotions, funding for a project, budget increases, status with the boss—people misuse their time and energy. Today, when many organizations are fghting for their lives and scarce resources there is increased stress and anxiety, and employees are engaging in games more intensely than ever before.
Organizational experts Mauricio Goldstein and Philip Read argue that office games—those manipulative behaviors that distract employees from achieving their mission—are both conscious and unconscious.

They can and should be effectively minimized. In Games at Work, the authors offer tools to diagnose the most common games that people play and outline a three-step process to effectively deal with them. Some of the games they explore include:


  • Gotcha: identifying and communicating others’ mistakes in an effort to win points from higher-ups
  • Gossip: engaging in the classic rumor mill to gain political advantage
  • Sandbagging: purposely low-balling sales forecasts as a negotiating ploy
  • Gray Zone: deliberately fostering ambiguity or lack of clarity about who should do what to avoid accountability

Filled with real-world, entertaining examples of games in action, Games at Work is an invaluable resource for managers and all professionals who want to substitute straight talk for games in their organizations and boost productivity, commitment, innovation, and—ultimately—the bottom line.

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Games of the Month

Token Involvement

To play Token Involvement, a manager conducts opinion surveys, focus group, or involvement meetings to communicate that "your opinion matters", but these activities are done only to make people feel involved rather than actually to involve them. The real intention is just to get rid of the complaints and for managers to show their management that they´re doing the "right" thing-involving their people in the decision-making process. The same game is played when leaders involve their direct reports supercially, soliciting their views on department strategy but relying exclusively on their views on department strategy but relying exclusively on thei own view. Cynicism becomes employees´ultimate response to this game, and they lose respect for management. Perhaps evens worse, when management really needs employees to be committed and contribuing to a major project, they have great difficulty securing this involvement.


Praise for Games at Work

jacopoA terrific read not only for senior leaders and executives but also for employees seeking growth in complex organizations. Goldstein and Read dissect the interpersonal dynamics that affect a company’s performance, provide a framework to understand the games that are commonly played in businesses around the world, and offer practical tools to correct these behaviors and improve the organization’s effectiveness.

Jacopo Bracco Executive Vice President DIRECTV Latin America

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