What it took to achieve business success a decade ago differs from the skills and competencies required today. As problems become more complex and greater demands face professionals, being equipped with hard skills is no longer enough; it is the soft skills, like critical and creative thinking and interpersonal communication, that are essential for success in business.
Companies have invested plenty of resources in training programs, but the most effective way of teaching these skills is through creative, if not unconventional, means. Activities like simulations, social media exercises, and even gaming have been used by HR practitioners to stimulate learning in high-potential employees. Games, in particular, can teach a lot about business success to leaders and staff alike.
Monopoly: Financial Investment and Calculative Risks
Plenty of strategy and quick thinking are involved in the ever-popular Hasbro creation, Monopoly. To win, players need to strategize quickly to buy properties, collect rent, and manage cash flow, all the while trying to bankrupt their opponents. The board game teaches you not just how to calculate risks and invest your resources, but also to focus on preventing any competition from entering or overtaking you in the market.
Poker: Resilience and Adaptability
In a game like poker, you can't always win. An essential part of the game is learning how to pick yourself up, learn from your mistakes, and try again. Seasoned players understand the importance of learning how to play the hand you get, regardless of what it is. It’s because of this that resilience is one of the most valuable mental skills learned by playing poker. It teaches you that, in life, the best way to deal with failures or setbacks is to continue forward, despite the difficulty. In businesses, employees will make mistakes, and even leaders will make wrong decisions. The success of the business depends on each individual learning from their mistakes and moving forward to accomplish even greater things.
The Legend of Zelda: Attention to Detail
While looking at the bigger picture is often very important in business, many leaders know that the devil is in the details. Game developers, too, understand how crucial details are as they incorporate side quests and Easter eggs into gameplay that only the most attentive gamers will find. Games like The Legend of Zelda teach us that being detail-oriented is rewarding. Developing a keen eye for detail teaches you to pay attention, ensures that you have all aspects of the business covered, and it might even lead you to new and unexpected solutions to pressing problems.
In solitaire, it’s all about making the right decisions that will lead you to your end goal. Perhaps you have an opportunity to move a card, but there may be a better option waiting for you in the next draw. This teaches you to assess the ROI in every move and how to create more options. Business is full of challenging decisions, many of which will impact the entire organization, its stakeholders, and many others. Understanding how to make better business decisions given the options available is an extremely valuable skill that many leaders are required to have.
As the rigors of navigating a business require more nuanced skills, leaders and HR practitioners are moving towards more creative learning methods that include experience and novelty. It may come as a surprise that games are an effective way of developing relevant skills, such as strategizing lead generation to building a profitable business or managing people effectively. So, it just goes to show that there’s more to success than meets the eye; sometimes, all it takes is a lesson from a good game.