Whoever Knows the Rules Best, Wins?
I think it was my father who said it, and I believe it was my first year playing Little League baseball when I heard the phrase, whoever knows the rules best, wins. I see now he was trying to impress upon me to not only to develop the physical skills, but also learn about the mental game of baseball and that meant knowing and understanding a lot of rules.
When you could steal, bunt and yell were all part of a game governed by rules. The bats, balls, and gloves were also governed by specific regulation. But those rules sometimes offered a small advantage if you knew how to increase the likelihood of getting a hit, stealing a base, or making a near impossible catch.
As I grew up, I remembered this exhortation about knowing the rules and always strived to be the best at grasping and understanding rules for whatever “game” I was playing.
Then things got more complex. I found myself running a hospital, then subsequently acting as a real estate broker, then a life insurance agent, a mutual funds salesperson, a bank trust department vice president, a money manager account executive, and then a comprehensive financial planner. Rules, rules, rules.
Mistakes are costly. In every field where I was employed or owned my own business I found out that not knowing some rule could be a disadvantage and sometimes costly. Also, people were paying me to know the rules better in a certain area than they could because I was a full time “player”. They expected me to know the rules better than them.
By then I had recognized I knew more and more information about less and less topics. Just like the people hiring me, I learned to delegate to people who had learned some rules better than I. My attorney knows more about structuring a business and safeguarding family assets. My accountant knows more about tax consequences in several states where a business operates.
If you’ve discovered your life becoming more complex and recognize that rules change often in most fields of endeavor making it harder to keep up, then you can practice what a mentor told me long ago, “Do what you do best, and delegate the rest.”.
So to the people I delegate to, thank you. And to the people who delegate to me thank you too. It certainly makes our lives a lot easier.