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Can playing WoW make you a better boss?

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Can playing Warcraft make you a better boss?

How did Stephen Gillett go from college graduate to the youngest ever chief information officer of a Fortune 500 company in less than six years?
By playing World of Warcraft, says the Silicon Valley guru who gave him his[/size] first job.

Less than half a dozen years after being hired by John Hagel III for a hi-tech startup, Gillett became a senior vice-president and chief information officer for Starbucks. Hagel says Gillett learned everything he needed to know for a career in business by corralling and directing people as a guild leader in the popular online multiplayer game Warcraft.

At the Wharton Leadership Conference in Philadelphia, Hagel said that Gillett — like other top players of the game, which has an estimated 8 million participants — reached out independently to build a large team of allies and solve complex problems.

Guild leaders in Warcraft "require a high degree of influence" said Hagel, the co-chairman of a strategy centre for financial and consulting firm Deloitte. "You have to be able to influence and persuade people — not order them to do things. Ordering people in most of these guilds doesn't get you far," he said.

Hagel and two coauthors, John Seely Brown and Lang Davison, have just published a book on modern business environments called The Power Of Pull: How Small Moves, Smartly Made, Can Set Big Things In Motion. They found that US companies will continue to fall behind those in emerging markets like China and India unless they move toward what Hagel called "the edge".

The edge is where passionate employees collaborate with others on the kind of innovations that prevent a company from seeing its core business model erode. "That only thing that success... is to take those initiatives on the edge and pull more and more of the core out to those edges — rather than trying to pull them back in," Hagel said.

One company Hagel praised as an example of an edge-based business was German software giant SAP, which recently created a new network putting its software designers in touch with users. Hagel said the move had given the company's software designers teamwork and communications skills similar to those shown by top Warcraft players.

In addition to the leadership qualities involved with becoming the head of a guild and assembling a problem-solving team, Hagel said Warcraft players also conducted extensive reviews of their and their leader's actions after the fact. And players typically customised their own dashboards to offer statistics and rate performance in areas they considered crucial to their strategy, he said.


Can playing games make you a better boss? I don't know - but I'm willing to try! :)

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