The inner game is not a philosophy for general management, Gallwey says. Nor is it suited to motivating sales people or helping businesses in crisis. But, he says, "if you need better performance out of people, if you need people to be learners, if you need people to work better in teams, it's appropriate."
No matter what you're trying to use the inner game for, you can hinder its effectiveness if you force it. For instance, don't mandate that all employees have to receive and apply the training, Gallwey says. He recommends that participation in training be entirely optional and that no one should suffer in performance reviews or otherwise for failing to take or apply the training.
You can also do it wrong by spending too much money on it, as Gallwey's large corporate clients are wont to do. Instead of hosting a several-days-long seminar that costs $2,000 per person, he suggests, entrepreneurs should recommend employees read one of his books and subsidize its purchase. That approach will cost you about $10 per person and may yield adequate benefits, he says.
The phrase "inner game" and some of its concepts have been widely appropriated by other authors, speakers and consultants. Gallwey refers to these interlopers, as well as the broader current interest in workplace psychology and spirituality, as "generic inner game." You can go wrong with generic inner games that are too deeply psychological, New Age-type spiritual or simply too complex, he warns.
Gallwey doesn't worry about overemphasizing the inner side of things, however. "Most corporations have only been playing the outer game," he says. "Recently, it's become more balanced, but we're still nowhere near giving the inner game its due."
Nathan, who thinks the $100,000 he's put into inner-game training to be money well-spent, adds that playing the inner game well will translate into a better score in the outer game. "It's not just a feel-good thing," he says. "It has practical business results, too."
Mark Henricks writes about business, technology and investing from Austin, Texas. His latest book is Mastering Home Networking (Sybex).