Category Archives: Inspiration
A few years ago the term “gamification” briefly became the vogue trend in business, much of which still exists today in certain manifestations. This was the application of game elements, mostly videogames, into processes to increase engagement, flow, or end-user experience.
As with any new development in new business models and techniques, this approach was both met with success and also mis-applied. Many that made gamificaiton work had infused fun and achievement into their workplace. Others that failed either mis-appropriated the principles or the fit was night right for their culture or business model.
However there is an effective way to incorporate game elements into your business and organization – by using the basic mechanics from board games.
The board game industry may seem like a trivial amusement fad, yet the mathematical processes and strategies that go into design and game play have served this industry well – to the tune of $9.4-9.6 billion of revenues worldwide.
Because of this, we can draw some ideas from their mechanics and find ways to apply them to making our organizations better.
- Social interaction. Board games are hugely popular because they are social by nature. Bringing people together in friendly competition or joint cooperative fun has always caused people to connect at a high level, Creating more fun and engaging social interaction will enable your team to compete and collaborate more effectively and without barriers.
- Minimize randomness. The Eurogame industry which fueled the board game boom in the late 1990s created games such as Puerto Rico or Agricola that were highly dependent on using items other than dice. This minimized the chance randomness and led to a more smooth and balanced gameplay. Companies can minimize randomness by discerning certain risks, constructing a smooth workflow, and designing better processes by beta testing to ensure minimal variables can disrupt the system when things are in motion.
- Worker placement & resource management. As the game Settlers of Catan showcased, these are two popular mechanics that allow people to place their pawns on the board to access areas to their advantage, and to manage the limited resources available to all players to make the most strategic use of what can be gained. An organization that knows where to place their people effectively, and can create solid products and services from limited resources (or superb products and services from abundant resources should they have them) is showing they care not to waste these precious commodities and will consistently have higher returns for their efforts than the average organization.
- Build your engine. In some games, the player needs to acquire cards, money, spaces, and other items in order to generate more cards, spaces and money in return. The classic game of Monopoly highlights this effect. Good companies know that to generate resources and money in smaller efforts that will generate even greater returns on these items more and more as time goes on is an effective means to a great ROI.
- Cooperative experience. Not all games pit players against each other. Some games, like party games or the game Pandemic or Flash Point, will pit players to team up against the game itself to save the world from a plague or a house from burning down. And not all business has to have a one winner condition. Building teamwork, team goals, and team success and developing their skills and talents in ways that individual goals could never do. And even if the team does not achieve it’s goal, the by-product of learning from others and building a stronger culture within a groups will reap long-term dividends.
- Replayability. Some games are good a few times, then become old quickly. The best games have variety built-in, never being the same twice, and always leave room for new scenarios and outcomes to occur. A successful company likewise shouldn’t be a one-trick pony – having a verity of solid people, goods, and services that can provide more to your customers is essential. Even if your organization specialize in a small niche, there is a wide array of service that can support that product, and people that can provide those services. Diversify within your model so your customers won’t get bored and shelf you for something more fun and exciting down the road.
Finding new ways to generate innovative processes and goals for your organization is what every leader works towards. Leadership principles can be found in every place if you look for them. Even in our digital age we can be inspired by bits of cardboard to teach us how to get better.
Today’s post is from Art Barter, in conjunction with the newly released book “Servant Leadership in Action” by Ken Blanchard. Art is one of a handful of people who contributed to this book, including Marshall Goldsmith, Dave Ramsey, mark Miller, Cheryl Bacheleder, and Simon Sinek. Art brings to us a perspective of servant leadership in reagrds towards employee engagement.
The Servant Leadership Institute helps leaders around the country change their leadership beliefs from the control model to the service model. Leaders we help all have a common desire: to engage their employees at the highest level possible. Most realize that how they are leading today needs to change.
We have all been in meetings where those in attendance have lost interest in what the leader is saying. It took me some time to understand when people are looking down at their papers, playing with their pens and doing everything to avoid eye contact, it was my own behaviors that drove their response. Why is it so hard to connect with those whom we spend most of the day? As leaders, how do we develop a culture where people are encouraged to participate and give feedback to their leader — and the leader cares about them enough to actually listen to understand? Here are some of my thoughts and experiences on how we can engage employees today.
Do you inspire your employees?
People don’t feel inspired by their leaders. Leaders today do not live the company values through their behaviors. Leadership behavior, in the most part, has been driven by the command and control leadership model. People want their leaders to care about them, not just say they care. Leaders inspire others through their behavior more than anything they might say. Part of that behavior is painting an inspirational picture for employees — one that shows them how their work impacts the world. Be a storyteller, reminding employees all the things they have accomplished.
Do you invest time in your employees?
People don’t feel their leaders really invest in them. Leaders today don’t feel they need to meet people where they are. Most leaders don’t know what this means. I love to ask leaders if they invest their time in their employees. Most will respond with that worn out saying, “my door is always open.” I ask them to tear the door off its hinges and show me their calendar. When I see employees scheduled in a leader’s calendar on a regular basis, I know the leader really cares. We all should schedule regular one-to-one meetings with those who report directly to us.
Do you trust your employees?
People don’t feel leaders trust them. Trust is the basic item needed in any relationship. If leaders don’t extend trust, how can they expect trust in return? There is both a social and economic driver in trust. Leaders need to understand both. In our manufacturing company, we measure trust every six months through a trust index. Leaders can’t build trust in their organizations until they trust themselves and trust the other leaders in the company. Leaders don’t believe the trust issue is with them — which couldn’t be further from the truth.
Do you model the company values, mission and purpose?
People notice when leaders’ behaviors do not support their words. “Walk the Talk” is another worn-out this phrase. We need to change it to “Behave the Talk.” Leaders cannot inspire and equip others through their talk, only through their behaviors. Leaders need to change their own behavior first before they can expect a change in their organizations and people. In todays’ world, people are looking to follow a leader who is serious about values and a higher purpose for the organization. They will follow leaders who behave their values, purpose and mission. Do people in your organization see you behave in accordance with all three of these?
In the end, our role as leaders is to inspire and equip those we influence. People are disengaged today due to their leaders’ behaviors. Leaders need to change their own behavior before they can set expectations for people in their organizations to change. It took me almost 30 years to realize this. Our organizations started to grow and perform after I changed my own behaviors and invested time in our people. Serving them has been the most rewarding journey of my leadership career. Start your journey today; you won’t regret it.
More about Art Barter
Art Barter (www.artbarterspeaks.com) is the owner and CEO of Datron World Communications and the founder and CEO of the Servant Leadership Institute. Art began his career working for the Walt Disney Company. He then spent more than twenty-five years with several manufacturing companies before joining Datron in 1997. Art Barter has a chapter in the new book Servant Leadership in Action (Berrett-Koehler, March 6, 2018). Coedited by Ken Blanchard and Renee Broadwell, the book is a collection of original essays contributed by 44 servant leadership experts and practitioners.
Earlier this week I posted on “How Extra Effort Makes The Difference“.
Since then, I’ve received feedback and ideas from many people that explodes this definition beyond what was suggested.
Everyday, leaders from all over are giving that little extra effort to push towards that goal, to build that person’s confidence, or to generate synergy within a certain team. It’s the belief that when they lay their head on the pillow at night, they know they did everything they could that day to improve their lives and the lives of those in their world.
Here are some more ideas on how to give that “extra effort”:
- Call your mentor and closest professional friends weekly to thank and appreciate them for their efforts in your life
- Breaking your team out for a “vision session”
- Call a quick “town hall” meeting to ensure everyone is on the same page and aligned
- Stopping during the day to review your company goals and mission
- Pausing during the day to review your life goals and mission
- Asking questions to find out which two parties need to be more connected and integrated
- Tabling all administrative task to late day or after business hours to spend more time with your people and customers
- Calling or texting your spouse or family and folding them into your busy day
- Asking colleagues to proofread a proposal to look for feedback
- Telling your customers that you appreciate their support and are glad to work with them
- Take 5-10 minutes daily to learn more in your job role
- Conduct a 2-Minute Drill for planning and refreshing
- Take the pulse of your team through a temperature check
- Finish Friday on a strong resonating note
Every idea will not fit every leader, but in putting these in front of you the hope is that you can be inspired to give a little more and reap enormous benefits as a result of a little extra effort.
Remember, a little goes a long way, whether it’s your smile, your attitude, or your effort.