Enterprise Gamification is Leadership 101
Mario Herger’s book Enterprise Gamification is certainly an outstanding introduction to gamification. However, it is far more. While I am a novice at game development and gamification, I do consider myself to be knowledgeable and accomplished in the realm of leadership. As I read Enterprise Gamification, I could imagine an entire MBA Leadership and Organizational Behavior course based on this book. I was blown away with how richly Mario filled this book with studies and sources regarding individual and organizational behavior. In terms of truth in advertising, Mario was one of my advisers for my recent thesis in which I designed a serious, multiplayer, computer game to improve Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Regional Response Coordination Center training and exercises. I am now inspired to think more globally and imagine how to gamify FEMA and even the Department of Homeland Security to improve engagement, efficiency, and effectiveness. But, that is another story. I am not writing a book review here. Rather, I would like to share just a few nuggets out of Enterprise Gamification that leadership enthusiasts, like myself, might enjoy. The concept of applying these concepts through gamification quit simply makes the application of the principles more fun.
Play the Cards You are Dealt
When I mentor young folks, I tell them that if I only had one piece of advice to give, it would be that you play the cards you are dealt. What this means is you are leading a team of individuals. They are all unique and motivated in different ways. Wait, did I just state the obvious? While we learned how we are unique as children from Sesame Street and Mr. Rodgers Neighborhood, we seem to forget it in our leadership styles. In addition to intrinsic individuality, each person’s own motivation changes over time. An old, experienced, introvert may only need and want the task description and then runs off and takes care of it. A young, inexperienced person may need a little more hand holding or timely checks to make sure they are on track. Similarly, Herger refers to empathy-based design when he writes, “…understanding the motivations of players is a crucial part of making gamification successful.” In other words, one must consider what motivates a player to make a good game. This is analogous to a leader needing to understand the motivation of employees/teammates in order to be effective.