Learning From Pickup Sticks: Successful Businesses Need To Plan and Prepare For the Future

Remember Pick Up Sticks?  Did you play? Were you any good?

For those of you who don’t remember, Pick Up Sticks is a game of mental skill and manual dexterity. A bunch of sticks about 6 inches long are held loosely and then let go. They fall in a random manner and each player take turns taking sticks from the pile, being careful to not disturb the remaining sticks for when they move or touch other sticks, their turn ends. The player with the most sticks wins.


There are two main types of players:

  • The first type of player doesn’t take the time to analyze the situation and determine if the stick that they are planning to take is in any sort of perilous relationship to another. These bold players often grab for a stick only to watch several others roll away, shift over or simply come toppling down.
  • The second type of player is just too darn cautious, and takes great pains to locate a perfect stick that they can extricate from the pile flawlessly and without impacting the others.

In pick up sticks, like in business some folks have the ability to look ahead and see that their next action is going to have the result they desire. Others, well not so and their lack of ability to see ahead and make the correct decision often leads to a business catastrophe much more meaningful than when the sticks came tumbling down.

And others, well, their overly conservative approach minimizes their overall success and chance at being a winner. (As a sales consultant, I have worked with many clients helping them to get past their fear and trepidation borne mostly out of the most recent recession.)

How do you conduct your business? Are you strategic and look ahead knowing that every action has a reaction but also knowing that by being too cautious you might lose your chance to win the game?

Adopting a strategy that combines bold but well-planned moves is a game plan that will serve you well in business and also in pick up sticks should you ever be called upon to play.

Personally, I loved this game when I was a child. How about you?

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Adrian Miller is President of Adrian Miller Sales Training, a 25-year old business growth advisory helping clients to develop more new business, generate increased business from existing clients and monetize all of their sales and marketing endeavors. Adrian is also the Founder of Adrian's Network, a highly successful and unique business networking community that has hundreds of raving fans and is adding more each day. A's Net helps its members to grow their businesses through highly strategic and effective networking.

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