by: Alex Eperjessy
The title comes from the excellent Harvard Business Review article, Leadership's Online Labs. The article gives an in-depth view of the similarities between leadership in business and in games. While this is not the first time the subject is approached, the HBR article gives it the treatment it needs. And of course, gives the theory some weight...
"The organizational and strategic challenges facing players who serve as game leaders are familiar ones: recruiting, assessing, motivating, rewarding, and retaining talented and culturally diverse team members; identifying and capitalizing on the organization’s competitive advantage; analyzing multiple streams of constantly changing and often incomplete data in order to make quick decisions that have wide-ranging and sometimes long-lasting effects. But these management challenges are heightened in online games because an organization must be built and sustained with a volunteer workforce in a fluid and digitally mediated environment."
Makes good sense if you think about it. I do suppose that trying to get the idea through to someone who's not really into gaming might pose a few problems. However, with concepts like social gaming catching more and more wind, the perceived image of gamers as lazy, no-good slobs (like me) is quickly on its way out (not thanks to me).
"Put simply, online games can be informal but realistic simulators for contemporary leadership training. In fact, companies could explicitly integrate these games into their leadership development programs in order to teach the “soft” aspects of leadership, complementing simulation tools that emphasize hard, analytic skills. The benefits would extend not only to individuals but also to business teams, which might use the games to try out various leadership structures for the group."
And seriously, why not? On one hand, would you rather be stuck in a meeting hearing out the same old boring mantras (productivity, team effort, bla bla) or would you like to take the plunge in an exciting digital environment? And isn't it about time you assimilated?