Sunday, November 18, 2007

Gaining Leverage in Business can be Fun

One of the training aids from Action Coach which I confess to having been somewhat dubious about was the board game ‘Leverage’, which always seemed to be a more complicated version of Monopoly. Well it is, but today I discovered that it is rather a fun way to be reminded of some important business lessons!

Our good friend Nora was visiting and having pioneered ‘Combat Monopoly’ was keen to join us in our inaugural game of ‘Leverage’. So with (Lord Nelson liqueur fittingly in hand - it was presented to us by the founder of the Hebridian Liqueur Company after we met at the Brad Sugars event in Las Vegas) steely determination we unpacked the game and set about playing.

Essentially you make your way around the board trying to build up cashflow through the traditional methods of increasing your prospects, conversion rate, products per customer sold, margin and so on, with a spinning dial determining the percentage increase you had won with, for instance, an advertising campaign.

It was getting rather complicated – and the Lord Nelson liqueur was rather good. So Diane had a brainwave: use Excel on the laptop, so a few minutes of programming later and managing our ‘Leverage’ accounts became a whole lot easier!

You also need to achieve a level of competence in four key areas: Accounting/Testing and Measuring, Systems & Technology, Delivery and Distribution and People & Education. These you have to buy – think ‘invest in’ - to achieve a certain level before you can win, no matter how good your cashflow.

In the event we ran out of time before reaching a natural conclusion; so we opted to score with a combination of cashflow and expertise achieved. I narrowly won, which seemed a vote in favour of building up cashflow before investing in infrastructure! But surely your cashflow increases more rapidly with systems in place?!

I’m not entirely convinced that in trying to explain the fun to be had in playing ‘Leverage’ that I haven’t convinced everyone reading this that it is just complicated Monopoly! But trust me, once you have that spreadsheet running to do the math, it is a breeze!

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