“Playing” the “Corporate Game” part 1

“Playing” the “Corporate Game” part 1

As I look back on past years, I am overwhelmed with feeling so grateful on the experience and opportunities that have been given to me with a company that I truly owe so much to. MGM Resorts International has been so kind to me and has allowed me to build a resume that I am truly proud of. From working with amazing employees, to learning from top executives and mentors, opening hotels, to working at the world famous Bellagio, I smile everyday thinking about the past 15 years working there in Las Vegas.

I write this in hopes that some high school or college student stumbles upon this. Hope that he or she can take this advice and remember it when they enter the work force, and then remember this when work gets really tough at times. I also hope to inspire those from small towns such as Hilo, Hawaii where I’m from, that with the right work ethic, attitude, and drive, they too can stand “with the big boys”.

This article is about “Playing” the “Corporate Game”. (I will likely do a part 2 of this article to go more into detail about tips in each article.) I use those words very loosely in that it’s neither playing nor a game actually. Playing the Corporate game simply means being aware of the key players and situations around you and doing things to stand out amongst the rest. One could say being aware of the politics but I choose not to use those words.

Playing the Game is a phrase that some of us have grown to learn. If you look at large corporations or companies, you tend to see the same group of people getting promoted, same people getting raises, and same people moving up the corporate ladder. Of course with promotions come more responsibilities and the likeliness of more stress, so don’t please don’t think it gets easier at the top. 50% of being a manager or employee is your daily work performance, 50% is truly “playing the game”.

Trust in that I’m still learning each and everyday and will continue to learn for the rest of my career but these tips will help you play the game:

  1. Always do extra as an employee and more so as a manager. Simply produce results. If you are given a task by your boss, immediately, and I repeat immediately get it done. It shows respect, it shows that their requests are important to you, and it shows that you can be depended upon.
  2. Always try to make your boss’ job easier by learning what he or she does and eventually start taking small tasks away from him or her. Once he or she gets promoted or a position opens up at another property, who do you think they will likely promote?
  3. Always try to make yourself “visible” in front of the people who are making the decisions of promotions. It’s not kissing a$$ but you always want to be that person in the back of their minds when it comes to a promotion.
  4. Always complete tasks given to you in a professional and efficient manner. Always provide more value when turning in or completing those tasks.
  5. Align yourself with your boss’ vision for the company or department. Know what their pet peeves are and ensure
  6. This may sound weird but constantly study top executives. The way they dress, look, talk, hold meetings, speak, delegate, and treat employees. Eventually you will be in that position and trust in that there’s a certain “look and feel” to an executive.


Remember, there’s a difference between playing this game and being a kiss a$$. No one likes a kiss a$$ but everyone respects and loves someone who does the above tips. I got my first management job at 21 years old at the Mirage Hotel, helped manage a 5044 room room service operation at 23, opened a 1800 room resort at age 26, got hired at the Bellagio at age 30, and got my first Directors position at age 36. As mentioned I’m constantly learning every sing day. I will explain in part 2 of this article how to find mentors, how to constantly improve yourself, how one is never ready for his/her next promotion, and how to be saavy at your job to stand out.

I don’t believe there’s an easy way up the corporate ladder but I do believe these tips above can help advance one’s career. As humbly as I can say this, I’m a 2.97 GPA college graduate, from a small town called Hilo, was never formally educated on management, yet still managed to be blessed with a career and amazing work experiences. For those out there who are just beginning or who are in the corporate world, work hard, go into work with a blessed and grateful attitude, and never, never believe that you can’t make it up the corporate ladder. Keep pushing forward!




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