A Leading Perspective

Pragmatic insights for the leader in you


Jeopardy & Business

A Guest Post from Bert Doerhoff


Jeopardy is perhaps one of America’s most popular game shows of all-time. It has made a successful run since 1964 and has captured the minds of viewers all over the country. Though its premise is simple, its lessons can be applied to a myriad of situations – including professional business success!

Below are some tips I have taken since being hooked on the popular game!



Know what you know!

In Jeopardy, contestants are given an array of categories from which to choose their clues. To give themselves the highest chance at a correct answer, contestants choose categories that they have special expertise or knowledge.


As a business professional, it is important to understand what areas you are especially knowledgeable or skilled.  Harness those areas and promote your expertise. This allows you to keep your customers confident in your ability to serve.


Be aware of inflation!

When Jeopardy began in 1964, a correct answer to the first and simplest question in the Double Jeopardy Round was awarded a prize of $20. Over time, that amount increased to $50, then to $200 and finally, to $400. While some of this growth can be attributed to the success of the show, it is also undoubtedly a result of inflation.


Just like Jeopardy prizes, your value would naturally increase over time. Granted, it is unreasonable to expect it to double in a year’s time, but if you’ve been in the business for a number of years, then it’s reasonable to expect that your value would increase.  Keep it fair, but also realize that as prices inflate, so will the cost of your work.


Show your personality!

One of the consistent fixtures on Jeopardy are the contestants’ handwritten names at the front of their lecterns.  Examining the contestants’ handwriting has always been a fun way for the audience to get a feel for that individual’s personality. Is their handwriting loopy, tall, scrunched, simple or boxy?

Owning a business is a great way to show your “handwriting.” In an accounting firm, it can sometimes be difficult to show your clients your true personality. However, make an effort to show that you have interests and hobbies outside of your work. On the other side of that same coin, ask your clients about their kids, grandchildren or their recent vacation. Forming these relationships is a great way to keep clients for life.


Move quickly!

 The key to dominating Jeopardy is moving quickly. Within a half of a second, contestants have lost their shot at answering the clue if they haven’t buzzed in. When the game is moving so quickly, having a fast response time can make the difference between the winner and the loser.


Business can be the same way. For public bid jobs, people move fast, and it’s important to keep an eye out for these opportunities and step up quickly.  Likewise, technology changes at the speed of light, it seems, and those who can’t keep abreast of the possibilities and uses of technology will soon find themselves in “jeopardy.”


Wording matters!

Perhaps the most recognizable aspect of Jeopardy is the concept that contestants must answer in the form of the question. If contestants failed to answer in this format, they are penalized, even if the content of their answer is correct.

Regardless of where you work, communication with clients, customers, patients, stakeholders, etc. is crucial.  Professionalism, accuracy and conciseness cannot be overrated!  In addition, you can make a world of difference simply by keeping your language positive and upbeat.  Negative, dismissive statements can make others feel alienated or disrespected.


Watching Jeopardy is sure to increase you knowledge of trivia…but I hope you’ve realized that the game show can, in fact, provide great learning lessons for you or your business.

By implementing a few of the game show’s timeless characteristics, you can be well on your way to success!


About the Series

I have declared May, “the month of fun”!  I’ve always enjoyed watching game shows and I know there are lessons to be learned while watching some healthy competition!  That being said, I’ve asked some trusted colleagues to write a guest post about a game show and their lessons learned as it pertains to their career.  I hope you enjoy them!


About the Author

Bert Doerhoff is the owner and founder of Accubiz, a firm providing accounting services in Jefferson City, Missouri. Doerhoff founded Accubiz in 1978 and is an expert in small business accounting, business management and wealth management. He is also author of a book called, “Six Steps to Small Business Success,” which is designed to help young entrepreneurs with starting and managing a business.

Bert has submitted two other blogs for A Leading Perspective, Five Small Business Situations You Didn’t Expect and Budgeting 101. Check them out – you just may learn something!



CommunicationsCompensationCustomer ServiceEngagementKnowledgeTimeliness

Heather Kinzie • May 6, 2012

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