Hate the game. Not the player.

Erikjan Lantink
3 min readJun 9

I listened recently to a podcast where high-net-worth individuals and tax-avoiding companies were the subjects of the discussion.

Or perhaps the subject of their rage is a better expression of the dynamics of the conversation.

Then a politician, known for progressive and more left of the political spectrum beliefs, joined the conversation.

They asked him his opinion about these terrible individuals and companies doing their best to limit the taxes.

“Hate the game, not the player,” was his response.

He explained that you can’t blame individuals for trying to find loopholes in a broken system.

It’s the system that needs fixing first.

It doesn’t mean those people are without flaws, but the system lets them abuse it.

The whole conversation reminded me of my mother’s passing recently.

She was sent home too early after an operation that proved to be with mistakes later on.

Then a combination of factors caused her to get a heart attack she did not survive.

It’s a very sad story, but I can’t get angry with the guy who did not check properly before sending her home.

It’s the system I’m upset with.

A system that focuses on efficiency first, treats all patients with certain conditions the same, and refuses to see that each patient is a unique individual with different needs.

That’s where the problem is.

That system, like any system, is designed by people. Politicians. Those are the people that should look in the mirror and be ashamed.

This game vs. player dynamic works the same at work and in life.

In my coaching sessions, I work with leaders who are mature in their leadership growth and leaders who lack even basic management skills.

Who have never learned how to give proper feedback, for example.

Leaders who are not available to have an in-depth conversation about performance and growth.

“You’re doing a great job” is what their team

Erikjan Lantink

Business & Leadership coach. Interim Leader. Writer. Speaker. Former Retail Executive (general management; operations; HR)