May 5, 2005

Excerpts: Getting Them To Give a Damn - Part V

By: 800-CEO-READ @ 5:27 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

In the summer of 2004, Spiderman 2 broke all box office records when its opening day took in $116 million in ticket sales. Compare that to Halo 2, the video game that came out four months later, which took in $125 million in sales in the first 24 hours. You can see how big video games have become in America.
When I played video games in college, I first conquered Pong, then Space Invaders, and then I was on to eat dots in the phenomenon of Pac Man. Its easy to see how addictive these electronic games can become. Doing well at the video games of my era took fast reflexes, a quick trigger thumb, and a lot of quarters. Todays games are most typically played on in-home game systems. Although they also require fast reflexes, they also require strategy and sophisticated problem-solving skills to win.
Until my son Zac called from college, ecstatic that he had waited in line four hours to be one of the first to buy Halo 2, I had never even heard of it. What makes this game so special? I wondered. I discovered that its not just the player against the game, but rather that up to 16 players, located anywhere in the world, can connect online to play the same game simultaneously. This complex war game involves an endless variety of scenarios and possibilities.
Life on the Other Side
As Kevin Maney observed in a USA Today article, The tables have turned, and the axis is videogames. We Boomers have become like those Woodstock town folk we once laughed at. Were on the tragically un-hip side of a generation gap, and the gamers are on the other side. The kidployees in your workforce are the gamers Maney refers to. When it comes to how we each face challenges and solve problems, these kidployees certainly live on the other side.
Todays video games turn players into stars and feed their egos by heaping praise and rewards on them when they excel. The hero in these games isnt always the honorable character but rather the one who shows the most machismo and bravado. Therefore, players advance only when they act daringly and assume great risk. Strategy and forethought are required to reach the highest levels.
This is the mindset your young workers carry to the front lines. Remember, they wont remain engaged if the job is mundane and boring; you cant get them to invest themselves if theyre not challenged to think, react, and affect the outcome of the game. If they cant emerge as stars in your organization, you might as well say, Tiltgame over.