What Cards Against Humanity teaches us about business

Billed as the party game for despicable and awkward people, Cards Against Humanity is a riot at parties. But oddly enough, winning at this game has a lot in common with winning in the real world

Billed as the party game for despicable and awkward people, Cards Against Humanity is a riot at parties.

But oddly enough, winning at this game has a lot in common with winning in the real world. Here are four important lessons that playing the game for the first time recently reminded me of...

Excellence will always speak for itself

While Cards Against Humanity is packed with gems, there are some cards that everyone immediately recognises as truly outstanding – cards that are almost guaranteed to win any round in which they’re played. No matter what the context, their merit remains untouched.

Just as in real life, truly great work speaks for itself. Forget the busywork and focus on doing great things.

But self-promotion is important

Our first game contained a heaping dose of campaigning. Most rounds culminated in back-and-forth debates over certain cards and whether they truly deserved to earn the ‘awesome point’.

We didn’t always argue in favour of our own answers, because  - as in my previous point – some cards always stood head and shoulders above the rest … but it definitely happened a fair bit. Perhaps it’s no coincidence the ultimate winner was also one of the most vocal players.

Being a ninja at what you do will go a long way to getting noticed professionally, but it helps to have some PR behind that. Learn to self-promote, but don’t be a tosser about it – read our guide to cultivating your own poppy.

Work with what you’ve got

Just as with any other game, you’ve got to play with the hand that’s dealt to you. You’re only as good as the material you have to work with.

In the real world, there will always be things outside your sphere of control. Advances in technology. Exchange rates. Competitors discounting. You can’t change them; all you can do is factor them into your strategy.

Never count your chickens before they hatch

Every single answer has been read out and you’re confident you’ve got this round in the bag, right? Not so fast. Nothing is certain until the verdict has been dished out. Every round is decided by a different card ‘czar’ and your sense of humour might not align with theirs. Ultimately, your fate is out of your hands.

When it comes to business, surprises can come from any direction, no matter how well you think you know your boss or your client. Even master manipulator Frank Underwood (a different type of Cards reference there…) sometimes gets blindsided.