we tend to play one of three roles in our business

We Tend to Play One of Three Roles In Our Business

we tend to play one of three roles in our businessWe tend to play one of three roles in our business (including relationships and parenting). They are known as ego-states and can be either an Adult, Parent or Child. This is based on Dr Eric Berne’s seminal theory from the 1950’s – and is very useful for us business owners looking to improve staff performance, productivity, and profits.

This is the first in ‘Your Inner Game Series’ to help you improve results in 2016 by improving the way you think which in turn improves the actions you take in your business. It’s not circumstances that will dictate your success in 2016, it’s your actions.


In the adult role we take 100% responsibility and accountability for results. Reactions are based on facts and logic. We don’t blame others or pass the buck. We manage our emotions. We handle criticism and negative feedback because we accept it for what it is and don’t turn it into a personal wound.

We recognise we are responsible for the current situation or state of the business and as an adult we can fix it. We don’t hesitate to look at what we can do better next time. When dealing with staff we treat them with respect and trust and don’t play games.

The adult controls the parent and the child. To change the parent or child, we must go through the adult.


As a parent, we believe we know best and we treat staff and others as our ‘kids’ that can’t be trusted, need to be constantly told what to do or to be nurtured. We respond to situations in the way we have ‘learnt’ to from our parents therefore our reactions are not always based on logic and the facts.

We may not delegate well. It’s ‘our way or the highway’. As a parent we can tend to want to rescue staff, protect them, and if they don’t do it right or at all, we get annoyed and tend to jump in and ‘just do it ourselves’.

We may hinder staff growth and their ability to work as adults. We don’t hold them accountable and responsible.


As a child we just want to have fun and avoid responsibility. When the shit hits the fan, we say “it wasn’t me!” “It’s their fault”. “It’s the market” or the competitors.

We find all sorts of excuses for poor results or not doing something. But when things are good, we take all the credit. We constantly seek and need pats on the back for doing a good job, in other words we seek approval of ‘parents’.

We just want to play and as a business owner this can mean just wanting to spend the income without proper attention to taxes and other financial responsibilities or keeping the marketing going.

If we deal with someone playing a parent role and telling us what to do, we can feel offended, resentful, and become obstinate and not follow orders or quietly sabotage the person.


Next time you are in a less than positive situation, or if you have a current issue, explore whether which role you are playing – parent, adult or child.

Don’t worry about what role the others were playing. Be an adult and take full responsibility, no matter how much a part of you may hate doing this…and explore your role. If you were being a parent or child, explore how an adult would have handled it. How can you move forward as an adult?

Mindfulness in business is key.

Mindful that the outcome is only a product of 2 things: an event and our reaction.

Event + Reaction = Outcome

Recognising whether we are being a parent, adult or child significantly helps us modify our ‘reaction’. Which unquestionably influences the ‘outcome’.

Give it a go. Love to hear your outcome.

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