Team Mentoring: How Gamer Culture can shift internal competition to collaboration

Competition: the activity or condition of striving to gain or win something by defeating or establishing superiority over others.

Collaboration: the action of working with someone to produce something.

In a team mentoring session, a participant shared how tough it was to compete with her colleagues. The most important thing for her was to have her product perform better in the market. By better, she did not mean against the market competition – she meant better than her peers.  She admitted to withholding important market data from peers, so her product sales would outperform the rest of the group. Sure, this was at the expense of the company, but the business had a forced ranking system so she had to do it.

There it was – the obvious question. Why are we competing internally when the fight to win the market is against competing products and services – not among ourselves?

Being a gamer means competition. In multi-player team games, the competition can be ruthless , but it is competition against the other team. This is where gamers get confused when they hear stories of internal business competition. They continually ask me, ‘Why do people compete against each other? Don’t they work for the same company?”

Proponents of competition argue that it creates innovation, reduces complacency and keeps the attention on competing for market share. Maybe.

A business is more likely to experience sustained growth through encouraging collaboration across internal teams to win market share.

If you are thinking about how to increase your collaboration, then consider how successful multi-player teams make it happen:

  1. It starts with the design – game designers strive to understand the multi-game user, so they set-up the collaboration conditions in the game
  2. Positive Interdependence – being linked to other players so that no one person can win unless all players win
  3. Promotes interaction and competition to win – players help, encourage and praise team members with an aim to win and claim superiority over the other teams! Gamer’s have interaction rules that are monitored and regulated which promotes the right performance and behaviours.
  4. Social skills – often the last thing that is considered in the stereo-typical view of a gamer, but the multi-player team has a common language and culture. It is a virtual environment and most of the time it is played remotely – therefore communication skills are vital to stay alive and keep winning!
  5. Sense of humour – A common thread among high performing teams is that have a great send of humour and know how to use it to build and support their cultures. Gamer’s are the masters. My favourite one -liner from a gamer was, ‘We don’t fear the apocalypse, we have seen it many times before’

Each of the elements of great gaming can be translated and adapted to a corporate culture.

Accelerating collaboration in a business could be the game-changer to beating the competition.  Just remember, that this mean the external competition, not the colleague sitting next to you.





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