Rugby, Uncertainty and Business

@StevieHamilton pointed me to this:

…Uncertainty, though, cannot be overcome and it can be more debilitating if players don’t know where they sit. You can manage this process when there is an end goal, but as you near this goal the need to eliminate uncertainty also arises… via England’s all-black strip fails most important test.

Although writing about the current 2011 Rugby World Cup this principle also applies to the business workplace. Uncertainty is crippling. Having a defined method of dealing with situations of uncertainty can help.

Stalwart & Star employees

Just read two interesting articles by Thomas Delong over at the Harvard Business School:

To be honest, I’ve pretty much always seen two types of workers, performers and under-performers, so reading these has opened my mind to a few new thoughts.
The first article on Stalwart workers debunks 5 myths:
  • Stars are smarter than Stalwarts.
  • Everybody is the same.
  • Everybody wants the same thing out of work.
  • Everybody wants to be promoted.
  • Everybody wants to be a manager.
It reminds of a saying that has had a lot of significance for me personally:

I am unique.
Just like everyone else.
We all have our strengths.
We all have our weaknesses.
That is what makes us unique.

Everybody does want the same thing. That is happiness. They way we each get there is somewhat different.

Games at Work

I watched a video by Seth Priebatsh (at SCVNGR) about the Game Layer On Top Of The World and it sparked my interest. A google search later and I found myself watching this 20min video by Jesse Schell on The Future Of Games which, although it answered a lot, left me with more questions than answers. With my mind whirring, I remembered that in the video by Seth, he said that there were seven dynamics, four of which he shared, three of which he was keeping to himself.

Was this simply Seth using some kind of ‘game dynamic’ on us? alluding to some other hidden achievement, leaving it up to us to go find? I think so, the guy runs a businesses that implements game dynamics for profit, they want more clients, what better way to gate prospects through to the next level than using game dynamics? Those that search it out are self qualifying themselves for that next level1. And that thought is one we should emulate. We can implement game dynamics into our own processes, internally and externally.

Those that are interested will seek out more knowledge. This makes us (the prospects) self qualify ourselves. Those that then apply this knowledge themselves are members of a group so small that it doesn’t matter to Seth and Jesse.

Take this application further and ask yourself some questions:

  • How could we use game dynamics to attract and motivate prospects?
  • Are we doing in such a way that gets our prospects to self qualify themselves? Without further action from us until they’ve self qualified to the point of contacting us?
  • Are our marketing efforts actually leading the prospect to our door if they qualify or away from us? What dynamics are at play? Can we tweak it?
  • Can we use game dynamics to make interacting with our company more interesting for our prospects? More educational? More reputation building?

What about our existing clients?

  • Could we use game dynamics to make life easier for our clients?
  • How could we apply game dynamics to the billing/invoicing procedures for clients?
  • Can we use game dynamics to encourage further use of our services? The recommendation of our services to others?

What about internally?

  • Could we have staff engage on a deeper level with the goals and purpose of the company thru the use of game dynamics?

Don’t forget, games normally have more than one level and so should our own application of game dynamics. We may start with one level, implement that, that’s healthy. Good. Then go add another level that improves the system. Then another, and another.

So what were the other 3 game dynamics Seth spoke about? I could make you look for yourself, or I could give you the link to the full list of game dynamics, all sevenforty seven as determined by SCVNGR.

Watch Cat Matson talk about her introduction to Game Dynamics at the SxSW 2011 festival where she mentions a few possibilities.

Just as games differ, so to will our individual approaches, that game we play will be dependant on the game result we wish to achieve.

Can you use game dynamics? How are you applying this knowledge? What are your thoughts about this?

1 See entry 7. Cascading Information Theory in the full list of game dynamics.

The key to “True Fans”

Reading the post over The Technium about True Fans and it made me think (and I’m taking a personal approach here):

EVERY business needs fans.

The key to my business is how well we treat our fans.

Then they either become non-fans, or they become true-fans.

In this context, the words fans and clients are inter-changeable.

Kevin talks about artists, and the concept (reality) that each artist can survive with a limited number of fans, different for each artist, but nominally pegged at 1000 true fans per artist. Obviously you need fewer true fans if your making more dollars from each one, more if you make less from each.

Now artists may be creative types, but business people like to eat something other than chicken soup too. It makes me think about the equations used to determine pricing, levels of service and how many clients are needed. As Kevin puts it “The processes you develop to feed your True Fans will also nurture Lesser Fans.

I don’t think there is one right answer, one size fits all approach. But I do believe that this thinking can be applied to more than just artists.