Playing games, what can you learn?

2015-01-30 21.10.51I’ve recently started playing Clash of Clans. Which I do like, I enjoy a good battle and being rewarded for my efforts. But that is not what the game is really about when you join a clan. Being part of a clan that rages a war against another clan is about strategy, if your purpose is to win. But the most important strategy is not the battle you fight against another, it starts way before that conflict occurs. Strategy starts with the clan itself working together to come up with a plan of attack, working out how the 25 members (give or take a few) will work toward the desired outcome and of course determining the desired outcome.

So what really is important in this situation? As a newbie I am finding it interesting. I am getting better at fighting a battle, but I need to increase the level of my troops to be useful to others when I share them. The information I am getting back is fairly evident – no one wants troops under level 4. Not to mention, for the battle that I fight the higher level the troops the more success I have. It would also help if I didn’t become all excited and nervous at the same time and use the wrong troop at the wrong time as a result. Not sure what causes that but it is amusing. Think it is the fact that I don’t want to let my clan down, so there is greater pressure there than when I am playing just for myself.

I am enjoying the replays of battles that others in my clan have fought. They are useful in seeing plans of attack and what to focus on to get that win state happening. Not to mention what advantages there are associated to having troops that are available at a hight level. The leader of the clan is awesome, he comes in and encourages, supports, listens builds a focus and redirects attention. Yet something still seems to not be working all that well.

What’s missing? Well it is difficult to determine a good strategy without good communication. Communication is required at all levels. It is so easy to place the blame on those further up the chain. But really, is that fair? We all have a stake in communicating. There also seems to be a bit of disconnectedness as a result of eagerness to achieve a win for self, rather than a win for the clan. Over time these things can be addressed and greater cohesion will be developed to enable a clan that works towards a common goal more efficiently and effectively.

What I see here is no different to what I see happening in any normal setting, for instance a school or other workplace.

When newbies enter there is always a ‘teething’ process that goes on. We have people who focus on their own end, rather than the organisations overall focus – vision and desired outcomes. There are those that get so nervous regarding peer assessment and review. And then there are those that bring a settling approach that connects all together to regroup and refocus. It is this connectedness that cannot be ignored, building relationships that enable the game play to be good, to empower it to achieve the desired outcomes is the next layer that exists beyond communication. After all we are working with people, regardless of whether it be a game or a workplace.

So why is this wandering through my thoughts at this moment. It is due to a class the other day that looked at leadership styles. Leadership styles are so easy to discuss from a theoretical perspective and analyse from afar. It is easy to say that we need to focus on a mission, build a positive climate, model the desired behaviour, establish expectations, be supportive and use data to determine the next step. But at the end of the day leadership is more complex, as it is about working with people. Would games provide a more authentic way to learn about leadership, or at the very least provide those not in a leadership position the opportunity to be in that space to gain a greater understanding of the complexities?

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