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Playing the game with the cards in hand

The dealer slowly worked his way around the table. Cards flicked out of his hand and landed in front of each player. All seven cards lay face down in front of each eager player and their hands reached down to take their pile. Eyes feverishly scanned the hand in front of him. His mind raced; “keep the ‘poker face’ on – don’t give the game away”. It was not a good hand – but it was what he had been dealt. He just had to play the game as well as he could. Do his best and avoid a heavy defeat.

Life deals us cards. Sometimes it is a good hand and the victories are sweet. Sometimes it is a bum hand of cards. But the thing is, knowing to play the hand you are dealt at that time because soon there will be another hand coming.

In the midst of lockdown in the Coronavirus outbreak, the cards we hold perhaps look like a bum hand. But the art is knowing the game to play with the hand you have. This is not the time to go full on with the normal gameplay. This is the time to

  • Review

  • Revise

  • Run


It needs to be a Black Box review. It needs to be open and honest and this allows you to get clarity. If you are struggling with this because the emotional part of your brain (Amygdala) is working overdrive, then seek help to do this through a coach. During an unforeseen crisis it can seem that you are powerless and this produces fear. But we can control how we react to a situation and how we plan ways forward. So ask these questions

  • What can I continue to do well?

  • What is that I do have that can be used at this time?

  • What do I need to adapt?

  • What does this time give me opportunity to do differently?

  • What does this time give me opportunity to finish?

  • What new thing does this time give me opportunity to bring in?


Now it is time to revise thinking and plans. This time can make us think, “this is so frustrating as I can’t do what I had planned and need to do.” This will lead to frustration, anger, fear and a sense of helplessness. And yet, if we revise our thinking to, “this is an opportunity to take some thinking time, do things I haven’t had time to do and plan some new ways forward,” it can bring control back. That revised thinking will lead to empowerment and energy.

Next step is to revise the plans. Considering the opportunity I now find myself in what are the 1 or 2 things that I need to focus on? Don’t have too wide a focus as you are then not likely to get things done well. Remember that this might include the areas of

  • Replenish – chance to refresh your thinking through reading, watching or discussion (online or via video conferencing).

  • Making a difference – This time gives companies opportunity to show moral compass and make a difference to others. For some it is producing or doing things for the NHS, for others it is about encouraging and caring for customers or the wider community via social media.

  • New ways of working – chance to adapt to online platforms and ways of working.

  • Continuation – Knowing which ways of working or products you can take forward in their existing format and which you put in fallow for the moment.


Nike have the famous slogan, ‘Just do it’. There is no road map for times like this. Everyone is having a go, the best way that they can. So, just do it – have a go. The idea is then to regularly repeat the three R’s and ‘Review, Revise & Run’ things.

The card game began, slowly each player laying cards and picking cards up. Sure, he knew it was not going to be the best hand he had ever played. But now he had a strategy in his mind and he was going to play the best he could, with the cards he had been dealt.

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