Are you a few Cards short of a Deck?

June 8, 2015 Chris Pearse

Your business is like a pack of cards – are you missing any?

OK, so this is about relating your business – any business – to a pack of cards. Not in a House of Cards way where the whole thing falls apart at the slightest nudge, but in a more subtle and profound way. In particular I’m going to relate everything to do with a business to the 4 suits in a pack or deck.

Playing cards go back a long way and they’ve picked up some symbolism en route – let’s have a look:

hard, durable, pure, attractive, desirable:             MONEY

soft, emotional, empathetic, bonding, satisfying:  FEELINGS

swords, sharp, decisive, analytical, cutting:         INTELLECT

energetic, inspiring, creative, determined:           SPIRIT

(N.B. the word Spade in Italian means Swords, so much for calling a spade a spade)

Diamonds stand for Money or any solid output of a business that has a value. It’s a tangible product of all the effort, skill and knowledge that has gone into the enterprise. Typically measured in £ $ € etc. and includes turnover, profit, pay, dividends etc.

Hearts also stand for outputs, but of the intangible variety: fulfilment, satisfaction, meaning, accomplishment, recognition etc. This is stuff you cannot measure – some will say you can… but you really can’t.

So Diamonds and Hearts represent everything that we work for – they cover the whole spectrum from filthy lucre to pure altruism. These 2 red suits symbolise the results or outputs of all our activity.

On the other side of the chain of cause and effect lie the 2 black suits, Clubs and Spades.

Clubs are about the driving force behind all activity – they make things happen through will, energy, ambition and creativity. They are the magic wands that make dreams come true.

Spades stand for the intellect – remember the sword symbolism. We sometimes describe people as having a sharp mind – able to cut through the nonsense to the heart of the matter. Clearly a well-developed intellect and faculty of judgement is key to the success of any enterprise. Spades also represent all the skills, knowledge and tools that we have.

Together Clubs and Spades stand for everything we put into our work – from the intangible spirit of vision and motivation to the very tangible tools of our trade.

Now here’s how it works:

All this means is that if you allow your energy to operate through your intellect, it will generate a result with some inherent value and an accompanying feeling. What you get out of a business is a function of what you put in. That’s it – nothing more nothing less.

So, the best case is that lots of energy with a good mind and the right tools produces plenty of money with an attendant feeling of satisfaction and fulfilment.

Worst case, half-hearted effort combined with poor judgment will generate a loss which won’t feel that great.

If you’ve followed me so far and are still reading, you may be asking: So what? This is all very intellectually neat and clever but how does it help me and my business, enterprise or organisation?

Simple: Unless you’re aware of these 4 suits, or 4 dimensions of your business, or any business for that matter, you’re missing a trick. What’s more, to stay ahead of the game, you also need to be fully engaged with, and proactive in all 4.

So if you’re making money but feeling like something’s missing and your Heart’s not in it, that’s just as real as making a loss. Making a loss is not sustainable. Nor is being unhappy, so do something about it.

And if you’re struggling and believe that your difficulties are down to other people and circumstances then you’re not really using your Clubs to their best effect – in fact…

…you’re not playing with a full deck.