Your Kid's Xbox may be HR's Crystal Ball | HR Fishbowl

Another really good guest post from Richie Coladarci. Thanks, Cola (R.C.), for the provocation…

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I’m not a big video game guy, which is probably the reason I was so surprised to hear that Guitar Hero is to be discontinued due to declining sales. I’ve played it before, along with its music gaming rival Rock Band, and thought both were a blast.

For those in the dark about these games, their controllers are modeled after instruments and players follow prompts on the screen to hit the right notes. In real life, it’s a pair of brothers after school, one jamming on lead guitar while the other less-skilled “guitarist” strums a simple bass line. Then a friend drops by after marching band practice, grabs her sticks from her backpack and starts banging on the drums. Finally the three of them call the next-door neighbor and invite him to lend his Eddie Vedder-esque vocals.

Although I’m not in the typical demographic described above, I saw the appeal. It was fun to play together and not against one another for a change.  Is this a new trend?  It very well may be. In the recent article “20 predictions for the next 25 years” a noted video game researcher claims that gamers today, on average, prefer three to one to play co-operative games rather than competitive games.

For argument’s sake, let’s assume this co-operative gaming trend continues. Fast-forward a few years and you’ve got a glimpse of your employees…and you should be ecstatic!  Recap: They play well together. They enjoy working towards a common goal. They let people play to their own strengths.

So what’s the rub?

For one, your performance and recognition plans are probably designed to reward individuals, not teams. They may even have a “take from Peter to pay Paul” mentality, which means that you’ll never get that Eddie Vedder sound (why would your team invite that sort of competition?).

Another important consideration is “line of sight.” In Rock Band, since all the song options are pretty mainstream, everyone knows what the final product should sound like when each person pulls his/her own weight. In other words, they know the end goal and they see how their contribution affects the results.

Sounds to me like a good business practice that might be worth emulating.

So I’ll end how I started: I’m not a big video game guy and I know little about the gaming world. This teaming gig may just be a fad…maybe it will fade just as suddenly as Guitar Hero. But while it’s here, it reminds us of our preference to team, to collaborate toward a common goal, and to have fun together. So even if it is a fad, is developing and encouraging results-oriented teams really wasted time? Xbox (and Wii, and the Social Gaming Community) would say ’no way’!

Image Credit: Destructoid

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