Poker player are excellent at reading people. Pros may make small talk with opponents to get a feel for a player’s personality or mine data about what makes them tick. Familiarity with an opponent’s baseline behaviors can make detection of idiosyncrasies or “tells” easy to see. Keen observation skills can provide valuable insight into whether a player has a strong or weak hand!
Why am I focusing on tells? Well, it’s a great place to start when talking about signaling strategy. Body language is frequently the focus of many poker and business articles alike. Posture, gestures, and expressions can be powerful signals whether intended or not. These signals can help or even hinder a person’s progress up a corporate ladder. But, let’s focus on signaling on a more macro level. The actions and choices we make broadcast a signal.
Thoughtful and creative signal planning can amplify your strategy.
Consider the following: A colleague, Sonal Chablani, recently wrote a great article about working on an MBA in her 30s. She talks about the challenge and fulfillment of earning a graduate degree. However, there’s a strong signal that has been created, especially for a woman. In the Art of Strategy by Dixit and Nalebuff, it is briefly discussed that if a woman in her childbearing years earns an MBA, it can signal investment in her career and dedication to stick around in the workplace. Legal or not, discrimination can still creep into professional situations. Earning an MBA not only solves the problem, it signals that she deliberately means business!
Whether at work or play, we are all looking for credible evidence of other folks’ intentions. With signal planning, your strategy can gain significant momentum. What actions are you taking? Do they reinforce your strategy?
Drop me a note with comments. I’ll look forward to your feedback.
It’s your move. Make it a great one!