Imagine for a moment that you are running a race. Your attention is focused on the movements of your body, the power of your muscles, the force of your lungs and the feel of the street beneath your feet. You are living in the moment, utterly absorbed in the present activity. Time seems to fall away. Perhaps you are even tired, but you barely notice.
What once started as an activity that you are doing because someone convinced you to do, suddenly you are doing for its own sake. You are completely involved. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you are using your skills to the utmost.
Imagine you could change from being the one who is using a software (like a player playing Mario World) to someone who is “in the race” of mastering his software (like Mario himself).
- I’m not talking about “running” through a virtual world of your standard CRM software – even if upcoming technologies like Google Glasses will make that an interesting idea – but I’m talking about re-engineering our work processes and tools so that they help us to experience this kind of involvement more often. The result would be that people are more fulfilled by doing their activities.They stay more focused for longer time without getting exhausted. They see result resulting directly from their actions.
- They thrive when they feel they are part of something.
- They act more collaborative while being involved in a joint venture.
- They act more intuitively and so often more creatively.
But, if I’m not talking about creating a virtual “Mario World”, what can you do to enhance such a state of engagement?
- Build an almost real-time feedback cycle into your processes. In the real world the feedback often is too slow (e.g. annually performance evaluation). The human brain is not made to stay motivated in the long term. We need ‘small wins’ to succeed in staying focused and on track for the ‘jackpot’.
- Clear goals and rules. Try to think like a game designer next time you are talking about your business goals. What is the overall goal and what will be the ‘Path to mastery’ for your company to achieve it? Are there rules that have to be considered? Or are there rules that have been considered up to now but from now on the question is “How to bend the rules?” or even “how to cheat this time?” in order to get more efficient, effective and to enhance the out-of-the-box-thinking.
- Create a fascinating and meaningful story around your product/service/company. People love to be part of something epic. To know that there is more involved into a business’s mission than just making money. To solve a real community problem can be one of the most powerful motivational facts.
- And the most important but yet most difficult part: Create tasks that are challenging but achievable. If the task’s goal is too far away, break it down into smaller steps that are easier to achieve in the short run. Create milestones that increase the challenges for your employees over time. So, it is easy for them to onboard and they don’t get bored. But pay attention to the different skill level of the people involved. What is the right difficulty for one person to be challenged could be boring or even frustrating for another one because it is too difficult.
Remember – it is not about creating a game in its classical sense – it is about changing the perspective of the persons involved to evolve from an outsider (Player) to an insider (Mario).