How to get the best from your team all the time

What is "gamification"?

Games are a great way to inspire your team. The idea of “winning” can elevate the stakes of a goal and motivate the team to work harder. It also inspires a sense of pride, unity, and accomplishment.  However, if overdone it can get tired and/or encourage some co-workers to cheat or undermine their peers.

How do you implement this strategy effectively?

The first thing you need to decide is if a game is right for your team. This type of management/motivational strategy works best for a manager who is willing to put in the work. A game is not a one-and-done deal. It will require regular maintenance and upkeep. Secondly, you need a clear idea of what your “win” will be. Cheap or uninspired victory prizes will weaken a game’s effectiveness. Remember, your team is capable and working hard. Don’t diminish their work with a “casual Friday” or “pizza lunch” motivator.

Below I will go through the pros and cons of this strategy. This will help you create the most effective game for your team.

Pros:

1.) Increases Productivity

Every manager wants their team to work hard all the time. But the reality is your team is human. They will have moments of low-energy and the work may dip in quality. This is when a game is helpful. If the “game” is clear employees are more likely to work hard to achieve the ideal outcome or “win.” It encourages them to think quickly and effectively when faced with a challenge. Think of it as a consistent boost. Instead of being motivated by prosperity’s sake, they will feel a higher calling to turn out good work and improve their individual performance.  

2.) Unifies the Team and Encourages Company Pride/Spirit

This type of motivation builds comradery within your team. It encourages them to recognize and utilize the strengths and talents of their peers. I know everyone has horror stories of group projects. It’s hard to trust others with your success. A game facilitates that trust because the victory is contingent on everyone participating. And not just participating, but taking an active role and interest in the team’s success.

3.) Helps Leaders Emerge and Take Initiative

This will bring out the best qualities and emerging leaders in your team. The people who step up and guide the team towards victory are the types of trustworthy and promotable individuals. In a way you are facilitating your teams’ intrinsic motivation. We discussed how intrinsic motivation is more effective than extrinsic in a previous blog. A game is a way to nurture that intrinsic spirit. Those who rise to the challenge and thrive are typically those who motivate themselves beyond basic performance. This is a great way to cultivate a strong team and provide genuine upward mobility.

Cons:

1.) You Can’t Force Participation

A game has to be played willingly. There may be a few members of your team who aren’t interested. This will hurt the overall effectiveness of the game and may discourage others for giving their full effort. While you can’t control participation, you can control how you maintain the game. If you’re able to make it complex and engaging, you will have an easier time selling your team on the idea. Also, if you have an unwilling participant, talk to them! Get their feedback on why the game isn't working for them. It may inspire you to make changes that get them involved. 

2.) Can Get Tired/Repetitive

If you don’t put work into making a game dynamic it will become stale. Some leaders revert to more juvenile tactics and games, but these often lead the players feeling less than motivated. They will tire easily if the game seems easy or predictable. Don’t be afraid to come up with a game that is far from any traditional game structure. A game can be anything. Spend time brainstorming. Experiment with unique structures.

3.) Stakes Can Fall Over Time 

If the game doesn’t evolve over time or the incentive stays the same, the player's sense of urgency and effort will decline. When we achieve something we look forward to the next goal. Your employees are looking ahead, keep up with their ambition.

How does the game end?

A good game doesn’t end. To keep your employees motivated the game should always be happening. It can change, or you can introduce a new game at any point.

Remember to ask for feedback! Your employees' responses are vital to ensure your game is working effectively.

If you're looking for proven strategies and methods to improve your leadership and business book a FREE break-through session. 

What makes a “good” incentive?

We already know that intrinsic motivators are most powerful. But when it comes to incentives, I suggest considering what you and your employees’ value. Some may argue that money is a great motivator but like we’ve discussed before money isn’t as powerful as we think it is

Instead, look for incentives that elevate, mobilize, or enrich your employee’s experience. Good places to start are: mentor meetings, conferences, new software/tech, or anything that will empower them to grow as an employee. An incentive should be something that you would want in their position.

Takeaways

“Gamification” is a great motivator if:

  • The game is dynamic
  • Leaders are rewarded
  • Teamwork and unity are emphasized
  • Feedback is used effectively

Does this work for your team?

The only way to know is to try! If you’re looking to score some points this quarter, reach out. We have experience accessing vital areas where your business needs support. We will work directly with your goals and timeline to actualize your unique win. 

If you feel like your business needs a win, reach out. Whether it's establishing your brand, gaining rabidly loyal clients, or empowering your leadership skills, we can help you be victorious.  

Book a free 1-hour Breakthrough Consultation with us.

Erickson Business Coaching

Erickson Business Coaching, Inc. is a training and coaching company dedicated to helping skilled professionals build successful practices.

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August 16, 2020