L2-MHG #05 How to choose a strategy.

All of us, it is true, wouldn’t have survived long enough to be doing this training if we hadn’t been successfully using various strategies for many years.

There are many kinds of strategies including strategies to win, strategies for revenge, strategies to lose, strategies to co-operate, strategies to hide and strategies to sacrifice and strategies to show off.

Today I just want to draw your attention to the simple question of: How do I choose a strategy?

Remember, in gameworld, a player’s only strategy is to maximise his or her payoff. So, the way to choose a strategy is to look for a dominant strategy.

What is a dominant strategy?

A dominant strategy is one that you should play, regardless of what the other player does.

A dominant strategy is a strategy that gives you a higher payoff than all of your other strategies, regardless of what your opponent does.

The opposite of a dominant strategy is a strictly stupid strategy. A strictly stupid strategy always gives you a lower payoff than some other strategy, regardless of what your opponent does.

A strictly stupid strategy is a strategy that gives you a lower payoff than at least one of your other available strategies, regardless of what your opponent does.


Just to test your understanding of dominant strategies, let me ask you this: Is stopping at a red light and going on a green light a dominant strategy?

No. Not in itself. In fact, you only want to use that strategy if other drivers are doing the same. If you happened to be in a place where everyone went on the red and stopped on the green then, to maximise your payoff, you would want to do the same. Further, if in this strange place, everyone was intent on drinking contaminated water you would be best off not following the crowd and their custom. Avoiding contaminated water is a dominant strategy: you should do it regardless of what other people do.

DFQ #05:

Read this lesson once again and pay attention to the definitions of dominant and strictly stupid strategies.
Think about them and then:

1 • Describe a situation where you deliberately chose a dominant strategy.

2 • Describe a situation where you once chose a strictly stupid strategy.

8 thoughts on “L2-MHG #05 How to choose a strategy.

  1. A situation where I deliberately chose a dominant strategy was to keep a level head duruing a recent management restructure. A collegue was promoted over me, which I beleived was a mistake due to his reliability and experience, I kept a level head and he ended up being demoted within 2 months.

    A situation where I chose a strictly stupid strategy was holding on to my first car for years and ouring money in to it. When I eventually sold it, I had spent more money fixing it in the last 12 months than I sold it for.

  2. My dominant strategy to have a family and be a parent came to fruition through my persistence and focus despite a divorce and advancing age beyond average child rearing years. This is one of the games of life that is all too often played stupidly by too many people, but I have chosen to make it one of my primary goals and the rewards have been extraordinary.

    I chose a stupid strategy of pretending to not care the I was continually losing the game of backgammon while learning from and playing with a good friend. I tried to make of jokes about my sloppy strategy, when in fact I was just too embarrassed to find out how to play well. The result was that I was not taken seriously as a student of the game and obviously an easy mark.

  3. Dominant: I backed an employee who I knew had potential when others thought she should go. The confidence I had in her, combined with training and feedback, provided a great payoff for me both career-wise and in personal satisfaction.

    Strictly Stupid Strategy: These seem to arise when I get angry and react in the anger not in a rational way. It used to happen a lot in traffic when I was younger and dumber, getting angry with others who are oblivious to your anger, so all it does is burn you up. Older and wiser now… I hope!

  4. Dominant strategy: Buying certain stocks (in fundamentally sound companies) in a falling bear market when most others are selling.

    Stupid strategy: Hiring a person because he was the cheapest candidate rather than the best candidate at the time.

  5. 1. After nearly 2 years of being self employed, I walked away from a franchise that I bought because I (like several other 100’s of people) wasn’t making it work.

    2. I often give my time and energy to friends when I know I have other deadlines I have to meet so end up “short-changing” myself.

  6. 1. Insisting on a top end of the market price for assets I recently disposed of.

    2.By being accepting of the nasty behavior of a (high maintenance ) former close friend .

  7. 1. Dominant strategy: choosing a loving perspective in the midst of a recent disagreement.

    2. Stupid strategy: purchasing a new car battery before checking to see if the cables were still attached tightly to the “dead” one!

  8. 1. A dominate strategy which I would deliberately chose is driving on the (right) preferred side of the highway and the correct lane would depend on the designated direction rule of the land I’m driving in.

    2. Voting along party lines, instead of voting independent in our last general elections. Going forward I will determine, on an individual basis, who is, in my opinion, the best of the options offered regardless of party affiliations.

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