Management is Like Billiards

In billiards, you don't get to strike the ball that you're trying to move. You must first hit the cue ball in order to try to get the colored balls to do what you want them to do. 

The goal in billiards is to knock all of your balls into pockets around the table. The greater objective from doing this is to do it before your opponent does so you can win the game. A tertiary goal to reach that outcome is to not accidentally hit the 8 ball into a pocket along the way. 

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This isn't much different from managing people in the business world. 

  • You are the pool stick, the leader/founder/owner.
  • The cue ball is your manager. He/she must be influenced by you to get the team (the balls) to do what they're supposed to.
  • The 8 ball represents the mistakes you will make along the way, which are usually inevitable. 

If you don't know which pocket you're aiming for, you won't provide the right guidance to the cue ball. Without the proper direction, the balls (the team) might get struck hard, but will never end up where they're supposed to. 

Consider your own ladder of influence and play the table correctly.