Mentorship is all about building a relationship where a more experienced person assists a less experienced person to achieve their goals.
Many businesses are less experienced in the digital market resulting in a costly struggle to use digital and mobile to connect with top talent and build sustained customer relationships. Arguably, the biggest shift is in transforming large legacy companies, but new start-up’s should not get too cosy with the idea that they are safe and it is only big business that will fail . The entire market needs to keep an eye on adapting to the massive digital changes that keep coming at us.
Rapid changes to services, products and important customer and employee expectations are not going away. It is time to think about mentor relationships that will help less experience executives and teams learn from more experienced mentors.
Enter, the Gamer Mentor.
Urban dictionary defines gamers as “someone who plays video games”. Not the most inspiring definition, but it is a definition that reinforces the cultural bias’s that are attached to gamers. The common stereotypes include gamers as teenage boy hunkered down in the home office (or basement) for hours of online gaming, or perhaps the zealots at comic or game conferences dressed in all kinds of bizarre costumes.
Let’s open up the view of gamers with a few facts:
- Gaming is a big market: In 2007 the gaming industry was about $9.5 billion. In 2016 it was estimated at $91 billion – that is over twice as much as the movie industry
- There are a lot of gamers: our world has 700 million gamers which equates to half of our global online population
- Gamers are not just men: there is almost equal distribution between men and women (46% female, 54% male)
- Gamers are not just teenagers: the average age of a gamer is 31
- Gamer’s makes money: top gamers current earn between $200-400k per year from playing in up to 30 tournaments around the world. (This is a small population of ‘professional gamers’ now, but it is expected to increase with the exponential growth of gaming tournaments and events)
- Gaming builds capability in the digital world: Gamers know to interact, collaborate, team, learn, launch campaigns, set and succeed at goals and do all this with people from around the world – many of whom have only ever met online.
It is this last point, around building capability, which has the biggest opportunity for a unique and useful mentor relationship.
Gamer mentors have experience in building collaborative teams, which are primarily on-line but have the right amount of face to face events too. These teams have purpose and campaign together to achieve their goals. Many games require a team leader to track progress and manage the schedule. The culture of the game dictates a set of performance and behaviour standards that are monitored and have real consequences if a gamer breaks the guidelines.
Now, find and replace ‘game’ with ‘my business’. Wouldn’t it be great to have those collaborative leadership skills in your business culture?
80% of learners today say that they would be more productive if their learning and job were more game-line. Interestingly, schools start out with grade-schools using over 50% gaming methods. This drops to 30% as kids get older and is largely ruled out by the time a student gets to college or the working world.
Business is waking up to the ideas of ‘gamification’ which typical aims to increase customer engagement with products and services. Gamer mentors have a unique perspective on what is effective and what just doesn’t work in today’s market as well as having a keen eye on future developments.
Let’s not forget your talented team members. Giving your learning and development strategy a kick toward ‘gamification’ could gain you the needed productivity to drive your business growth.
Contemporary approaches to employee engagement reinforce the importance of humour at work. Among the many benefits, humour is connected to improved relationships, increased learning, long-term memory and a better work environment which all leads to retaining your talented team. High performing teams are known for being able to use humour to build relationships and strengthen their team culture.
Gamers get humour. They demonstrate how to have fun while still maintaining a focus on the outcomes and achieving the goals.
Most business leaders and teams would not hesitate to establish a mentor relationship with a business expert or leader. Leaders are also quick to leverage top athletes as mentors to drive motivation and performance. It’s time to stretch out and leverage gamer mentors as experts in the digital market.
In the next article, I will explore how gaming can be leveraged to drive more opportunities in team mentoring.