Future Friday: Is the future of management in gamification?

At the #SHRM15 national conference, speaker, writer, entrepreneur Marcus Buckingham talked about his research and writing on leadership. He was releasing a new book Standout 2.0, in which he talks about assessing your strengths as a leader in order to be better in your job and in your life. During his presentation, he was talking about his son and his playing FIFA soccer on his Xbox. I had a minor “wow” moment there.

Game boards to lead?

Buckingham made many great statements, which included:

  • The best team leaders ask “What are your priorities this week + how can I help?” Every week. 52 times a year.
  • Team leaders don’t give feedback, they coach.
  • Team leaders need to check-in with their team members every week on near-term future work.
  • As a team leader, I wonder what are the strengths of my people, what are they doing this week + how are they feeling?
  • You can’t build a great organization from the center. Build lots of teams like your best teams. Team leader by team leader.
  • 61% of my performance rating of you is a reflection of me and not you.
  • If you put garbage data in, you get garbage data out. Team leaders need real-time, reliable smart data.


As he went through his points, he gave an example of his son’s game dashboard. It allows his son to select a team based on multiple characteristics, such as: their strengths, their unique qualities, and how they mesh with the other team members. He said this is the sort of dashboard that leaders need to have.


I asked him later at his book signing party if he thought this was the wave of the future and he responded, “I do”, and it needs to be sooner rather than later. It is data-driven, and that takes the subjective errors out of the process. But it turns out we want some subjectivity in the process. With the gamification process we can build a tool that works for leaders and employees as opposed to just serving the needs of the organization.

Just think about having a tool where you can mix, match and select “players” based on how well they mesh, and then have a tool to provide them the feedback and support they need to be successful.

Pretty powerful.

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