People who know me, know I am a gamer. I have played games on every platform and play some kind of game nearly every day: Halo, Warcraft – heck, even Dance Central. Competing in the world of video games has taught me quite a lot about succeeding as a manager.
Halo – I remember a sunny September Saturday when my boyfriend (now husband) and I cracked open Halo and completed it in one (long) sitting. Playing Halo has always reminded me that to keep up teamwork you have to communicate. Trust me, a mob of Covenant aliens will rip your meager team apart if you are not being precise about priorities, goals and asking for help as soon as you need it. Same is true for any team that needs to focus on a difficult objective.
SIM City – This old pc game was one of my favorites release after release. The goal was to build a thriving city from the ground up: Develop a power grid, water system, residential, commercial and industrial district all while balancing fire, police, education and medical expenses with taxes. Here’s the rub: no matter what you started to focus on (building a college or a sports stadium, for example) some contingent of the city would start complaining that they were not getting enough money and resources. Build a firehouse? Someone complained they needed more schools. Build an airport? A contingent marched to complain about air quality. What great training for being a manager! No matter what you focus on, there is always someone who believes their issues should be made a priority. SIM City taught me to not get distracted by trying to keep everyone happy.
Warcraft – The MMRPG that has sucked away weeks of my life. I still play and one of the most challenging aspects of the game day after day is playing with complete strangers in a goal-driven dungeon where one player’s mistakes can kill everyone’s character. I have learned to be very aware of creating a balanced team quickly and compensating for one player’s weakness with another player’s strength. What a powerful management strategy!
Bejeweled – Once the #1 game played by women in the US, I find this a soothing way to pass time. It is also ultimately unwinnable. It requires thinking ahead, concentration and a bit of good luck. Playing Bejeweled has taught me that to gain proficiency in any area, it takes practice and concentration. And patience. So many times managers want immediate improvements. It rarely happens. All expertise takes time to develop.
Well, that’s all for now – I have to run. Those mines aren’t going to sweep themselves.