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About the Author

Ingrid Martine
Ingrid Martine, M.A., PCC
Hi, I’m Ingrid Martine. Before immigrating to the United States at age eleven, I lived in Germany. My fascination with human behavior began as an eight year old who read— under bed covers by flashlight and against strict maternal instructions—mythological stories and Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina. They fired my imagination and a hunger to understand people. Since I wanted to solve the puzzle of people losing their early enthusiasm for learning, I became an educator. Starting in academia—I have a Master’s degree in French Literature and speak three languages fluently—and then moving into the world of business—first as a consultant, then as an internationally certified executive and team coach with clients in North America, Europe, and Australia—I got interested in unconventional models of learning.

While working as a teacher with inner-city at-risk youth who seemed to hate to learn, I started experimenting with and developing innovative educational models. Certain that a disdain for learning is unnatural, I submit that learning environments must help people—adults in corporate America included—get out of their own way. My ability to create rich learning environments was facilitated as much by non-traditional learning experiences like waitressing, horse and dog training, all of which required me to be “client-centered,” as by my graduate work in psychology and experiential education design. The Un-Game is a novel whose characters work in such a rich learning environment. My intention is to engage you in a learning process that supports exceptional effectiveness at work and transfers to your life beyond work. I live with my husband, Joe, our three horses, Snowman, Holly and Dash, and two dog friends, Zen and Zumba, near Austin, Texas.

Why I wrote The Un-Game

Great work places intrigue me, especially because leaders and managers know what it takes to create them. And yet, regrettably, great work places are still rare. I wrote The Un-Game:  Four-Play to Business as Unusualto show you one low cost, high benefit way it’s being done. You can do it too!

What creates a great work place? Thirty years ago the Gallup organization asked a million employees and 80,000 managers from many countries and industries, from companies large and small over an extended period of time. We have the answers. So why are there so few great work places?  After all, no one goes to work saying “I think I’ll produce ordinary results and annoy people today.” 

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Trained in organization development, I’ve had the privilege of talking with many business leaders and managers over the last 25 years. You want that great workplace so that you can do your best to be the best in your industry. I wrote The Un-Game to give you some unconventional tools. Does it interest you to become an un-game player extraordinaire?

There’s a gap between the principles and practices of an ordinary place of business and one people can’t wait to get to each morning.  I wrote The Un-Game to help leaders and managers explore this gap and close it with greater ease.  Not with separate training but in the process of living your life and doing your job. The Un-Game is a 322 page teaching novel (Think Who Moved My Cheese) whose lessons are designed to stick to your mind effortlessly like Velcro. Would it be all right with you if creating a great place of business were easier?

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In this new business environment almost all of us have come to the limits of our thinking.  In The Un-Game I wanted to show, not just tell you about, a skill-set you can apply to “up” your game at work, home, and in your community.

I wrote The Un-Game because if you’re like most people, you’re now rubbing up against the limits of your thinking in this high tech, high speed, inter-connected and flatter world of business. A greater capacity for learning – be it in the technical or adaptive skill-building domain – is now demanded of all of us. To increase the organization’s adaptive capacity, learning should begin with our top management team.  The Un-Game recognizes this. What we seek is a new capacity of mind with which to “up” our game. The mind-set we’ve inherited, fine for yesterday’s demands, is unable to meet today’s. You don’t bring a knife to a gun fight.

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“Upping” your game means to catch your present thinking in the act and use what you learn to see new possibilities. Sounds hard, but it isn’t. I wrote The Un-Game to show you “It’s easier than you think.”

“Upping” our game means to develop our capacity for thinking from a new perspective. Albert Einstein rightly submitted that we can’t solve our problems with the level of thinking that created them in the first place. Only fools would argue with that assertion. And so we need to move beyond the mind-set we’ve inherited—to an expanded, more creative way of thinking.

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The Un-Game offers a technology that helps all players to make a complex world more manageable. I wrote The Un-Game to offer you some relief from the stress you’re under. The book, although fun, let’s you look critically at your thinking. You gain clarity about what you can control about creating a great work place, and clarity gives you the power to actually get busy and get it done.

Since higher levels of thinking help make a complex world more manageable, we need a technology for personal learning that helps us achieve those higher levels of thinking. At a minimum this technology must help everyone in the organization answer two questions:

  1. “How have I been captivated such that I can’t deliver on my aspirations?” For example, I want to delegate.  I need to delegate.  What am I not seeing about my thinking that has me delegate sporadically or not at all?  OR, I’m sure I don’t have time to do all I need to do, much less spend more quality time with my family. What am I not seeing that has me be certain I can’t do both?
  2.  “What faulty assumptions are we making that we’re unaware of and which keep an undesirable status quo firmly in place?” For example, I’m not successfully motivating an under-performing employee. Or, our company wants to hire more minority executives, but it’s not happening.
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The prize for an un-game player is to unleash his or her power to produce extraordinary results I wrote The Un-Game because you don’t only want to be good.  You want to be great. Like me you want to be excited about going to work. You want to score goals and celebrate, not just cross things off a to-do list. You want to be all you can be in order to make the difference only you can make.

In a supportive yet challenging environment, the characters of The Un-Game, a master coach and four great managers, offer a young “great-manager-in -training” a technology for examining his meaning-making. In a step-by-step, organized fashion, of his own volition—once he embraces the coaching—he takes the cover off his most closely held beliefs, opinions, and conclusions. He says “yes” to having his worldview challenged time and again in return for the promise that he will be able to unleash his power to produce extraordinary results in his failing department. Not the hero of the old “command and control” model of management, the protagonist of The Un-Game suits up for the coming world. He starts out “in the fog,” and ends with conducting “business as unusual.”
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I wrote The Un-Game for three reasons.

  • I know you can meet the new challenges that confront you.
  • I know you want life to be easier.
  • I’m nothing if not practical. I spent the first 11 years of my life in Germany. Need I say more? I could care less about good ideas, insights, and tools if I can’t use them to move my projects from vision to action with greater ease. I suspect we’re aligned on that.  Enjoy The Un-Game.  Some say it’s a wild ride.



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