Is Gaming Good for Your Career?

By Donald Sears  |  Posted 2010-07-26

A recent Forbes article suggests that gaming is good training for key success-building skills used in the workplace--as in learning how to persuade others to go your direction or being challenged to reach new levels of success.

The article is not about how you should play games on the job and waste time, but how gaming on your own time can translate into those soft leadership and strategy skills needed to win over groups of people and promote teaming and individual merit at the same time.

I game some (not "World of Warcraft") and I fully enjoy it, but it's still not exactly reality we are dealing with. However, I'm willing to listen. I'm not sure I totally buy it, but let's hear the experts out.

Hagel [John Hagel III of Deloitte's tech-oriented strategy center] has been studying the effect that playing videogames has on the performance of young professionals in the workplace.

Hagel cites Stephen Gillett, a gamer who became chief information officer of Starbucks while still in his 20s. By playing "World of Warcraft" Gillet developed the ability to influence and persuade people through leadership rather than trying to order them around. ...

Hagel also says games can cultivate "dispositions" that are valuable in a corporate setting. Videogames are often a trial-and-error process where players become accustomed to failure, and learn from it.

Games can also present players with unexpected challenges and new situations. Gamers learn to respond to, and even seek out, new challenges in order to progress. They also learn to improvise, and are thus more likely to be able to solve problems creatively when there is no solution to be found in a manual.

One gamer, according to the article, is the CEO of domain provider Tucows, Elliot Noss. Noss is a WoW player and believes all tasks in the game are always related to some larger trajectory. He uses the insight and techniques garnered from the game to lead his company. Every week Noss hosts a lunchtime talk for employees called "Tucows Lore" where he talks up the company's history and describes things in terms of its narrative. He says employees love it and they feel connected to the company from this experience ... He cites less turnover and increased on the job satisfaction as two metrics impacting the business.


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