As yet another generation comes to work in the IT department, IT mangers are being confronted with another management challenge. More and more of the new wave of workers are coming from the world of multi-player online games.
These games consist of large, complex, social systems that are constantly evolving. Games like World of Warcraft and Eve Online are able to capture and hold the attention of their players because they are always new.
Hold on – before you throw you hands up in the air and give up on dealing with yet another type of new employee, you need to realize that this “gamer disposition” is exactly what you should be looking for in your department’s workforce.
John Seely Brown and Douglas Thomas have done research in this area and they have discovered that that this type of experienced game player can bring 5 types of character traits to your workplace. These traits will help them to not only thrive but to also succeed in today’s modern workplace:
- Focus On The Bottom Line: In the games that these online players are playing, each player is constantly being measured and assesed. Each player is ranked and compared to other players using systems of rankings, points, and titles.
- Diversity Is Good: Gamers realize that they can’t do it all themselves. In order to be successful in a game, players need to build a strong team. The teams that are the most successful are the ones that consist of a strong mix of both abilities and talents.
- Change Is Good: Gamers thrive on change. The worlds in which they play are constantly changing – nothing is constant. Their actions transform the world in which they are playing. Gamers have come to expect this type of massive change.
- Learning Is Seen As Fun: The games that players are participating in consist of complex challenges that have to be overcome. These challenges make the game fun. Discovering the tools that are needed and creating the knowledge that is need to overcome challenges is what turns problem solving into a fun activity.
- Innovation Is A Lifestyle: Gamers are willing to explore new ideas and ways of solving problems. Even when the solution to a problem is known, gamers are willing to search for new solutions that will solve the problem quicker or by using fewer resources.
If you can learn to be supportive of the gamers who come to work as members of your team, then you’ll have a workforce that is both flexible and willing to overcome stale ways of doing things.
Do you have any gamers on you staff now? Have you noticed that they seem to solve problems in different ways from other workers? Do they seem to respond to they way that they are being manged? Do their accomplishments need to be evaluated in a different way then other workers are? Leave me a comment and let me know what you are thinking.