Have you ever wondered that our actions and outcomes are a reflection of what we are as a person and how we are controlled by ourselves?

A lot of what we do and how we perform is the self-assessment and the unconscious gameplay that happens within ourselves. There are two games – the Inner Game and the Outer Game that outplay the way we perform and carry ourselves.

The inner game focusses more on the inner consciousness and self-awareness of a person while the outer game talks about knowledge, experience, technical and managerial and leadership competencies. The inner game drives our thinking and responding capabilities in different situations. So if we don’t play the inner game well, we can’t perform at our best in the outer game. This is true for any skill that we want to master or any new change that we want to bring, either at an individual level or a team level or at an organizational level.

Considering the scope of bringing in any new change, here are some reasons for the inner and outer not to align with each other-


When any change is approached by giving instructions, the outer game may respond negatively because it conflicts with the inner game consciousness. For example, a team is asked to do estimates, they may say “no” at the very first instinct because the inner game might pose a threat as it does not understand the reason behind the change (ask for estimating).  Similarly, the outer game might resist due to investment in learning new skills. Surprisingly when the inner game is understood and treated well, the outer game naturally falls in place and the alignment happens eventually.


Having said that working with the inner game is indeed not an easy task! To understand the inner game, it is very important to be aware of the kind of person he/she is from a behavioral perspective.

Often we tend to focus on the outer game and ignore the inner game and this leads to a short-term change-like situation that does not actually bring in the change. The crux lies in helping individuals/teams to self-discover themselves and this can be done when we are able to hone both the inner and outer games!

Version One stage of Art agile reports show that organizational agility depends on the agility of leadership and management. In the current era where change is inadvertent, leaders who are able to hone their outer and inner game emerge as true agile leaders. Professional competency is an important trait to be able to thrive in leadership roles; however, competence alone does not serve the need. Great leadership is a blend of outer game competencies and the Inner Game effectiveness. A lot depends on how the leader can think act and respond skillfully given the turbulence of organization change and surprises. Mastery of leadership requires an inner game maturity, the better the quality of the outer game and more the matured the inner game, the more effective is the person’s leadership!

Have anyone experienced the inner and outer game shift, do let me know, I would be interested to hear your experiences.  This write-up is my reflection of what I could understand while I was going through the books on the Inner and Outer game.