To be considered a “gamer” you must invest a considerable amount of time in game play (more precisely, video games). Gamers pride themselves on their dedication to their chosen game, their singular focus and hours of attention to the matter/objective. While gaming can be brushed off as a hobby and one that interferes with getting one’s job done, there are several traits of the gamer that can benefit association leaders. Gamers possess:
1. Persistence. Gamers understand that even if you are a natural, you cannot expect to master any game the first time out. You will fail. That’s okay. But failure does not mean that you cannot achieve mastery. Mastery is achieved through time and devotion. A willing to try, try again goes along way towards success. Even after you master the game, sometimes you will have a bad experience. Things will not go as planned, you will feel like you are starting over. That’s okay, too as long as you come back with more determination.
2. Goal-orientation. Gamers understand what their objective is. Their goal is measurable over time.
3. Historical perspective. Gamers review (either through a replay mode on the game or mentally) what worked for them in the past and what didn’t. They use their experience to build tomorrow’s plan for success.
4. Awareness. Whether they are searching for collectibles or Easter eggs (items/actions hidden in the game code), gamers are aware of their surroundings. They are always on the look out for what will make their experience even more enjoyable or memorable. They focus on making the magic happen in addition to their goals. They enjoy the experience and pride themselves on finding things everyone else glosses by.
5. Communicative and sharing spirit. Gamers are great at community. They understand the community they are in and what that community most wants to hear. They know the value of what they are sharing and do so openly. They understand that providing the information makes them a stronger leader and expert, something they strive for.
6. A love for experimentation. There are skills that can be mastered in any game but most games allow for the freedom to choose how you will accomplish your goals. This requires a willingness to experiment – experiment with the tools of the trade, the way in which you approach the goal at hand and the amount of time put into it. There are few absolutes in games and part of the enjoyment is in the figuring it out. Yes, there are measurable goals to reach but the gamer possesses the freedom to construct how he or she will get there and what tools will be used and how. The gamer also knows that what works in one situation may not work in another.
7. The art of anticipation. The gamer plays on two levels, addressing the issues at hand and considering what is up next. There is no time to stagnate in a game if you want to accomplish your goals.
8. The understanding of the cost of “lone wolves.” A good gamer understands that even if “lone wolves” (a player with no allegiance who plays purely his or her own gain) can add value, partnering with these personalities inevitably brings problems for a player with community-oriented goals.
9. Task orientation. In addition to focusing on their ultimate goal, gamers are challenged by tasks that are a part of their ultimate goal. They understand the value in celebrating these mini-wins. Your goal can loom large and seem elusive at times so enjoying the attainment of these smaller steps, keeps gamers focused and moving towards the larger goal.
10. The appreciation of the value of content. In the past games were stagnant. You played them, worked hard and mastered them. This is no longer the case. Game designers have embraced the value behind adding content and increasing the options for their gaming community. They add new challenges, backdrops and activities to the game to keep the community of gamers coming back. It not only draws them back but keeps them talking about their goals and motivation. It rewards them for continuing to be a member of the community and encourages game play.
Although it may be difficult to imagine opening up your board to a gaggle of gamers, the psychology and skill set developed in playing games can be easily translated to association and community-centric leadership. Recognizing what they bring to the table may help us appreciate the upcoming generation. Many of these games are social. Gone are the days of playing against a computer; now you’re playing with gamers across the world, sharing experiences and ideas.
Does that sound like something that could benefit your association or community?