Decide your role – player, coach, manager, sponsor or referee

When it comes to a running a gamified performance management (GPM) program it’s important you have a clear picture of your role. This will determine the tone of voice you use when communicating with players and the amount of flexibility you offer in the scorekeeping program.

The roles you can take are as follows:

  • Manager – this is the typical role organisers of a GPM program see for themselves. Typically the program they design is all about achieving a collective objective – drive more revenue for the business for example – and the scorekeeping  is all geared towards that aim.
  • Coach – the coach organises scorekeeping from the perspective of the player. The program is designed for the player to reach their own goals through tracking and optimisation of performance. The coach is helping the player keep count, provide encouragement and perhaps a few pointers along the way.
  • Fellow Player – here you are simply a fellow player who is tasked by your peers with keeping the score for everyone. While in reality you are something of a player/manager or player/coach, the notion of fellow player can give the right feel. There is certainly nothing to stop one member of a team from creating a GPM program for everyone to benefit from as I’ve done with the Gamification Gurus Power 100, a board I both play on and manage.
  • Referee – the referee takes a step back from the action: they neither have an interest in the performance of the individual or the collective output of the team. They are simply there to ensure a level playing field and the rules of the game are observed. We most often see this role being played by conference organisers who are not active participants in the market themselves.
  • Sponsor – the most removed of all the possible managerial roles. The sponsor simply provides the financial backing to run the scorekeeping program and any associated costs. In return they benefit from brand association with the players, the program itself and ideally see their brand promoted to the wider audience of spectators.

So there we have it, the 5 roles you can take when running a GPM program.

Which you choose will depend on your own context and objectives, the important thing is to know which you are and plan your message accordingly.

Increase a team’s sense of ownership with a Gamified Performance Management program.

Have you ever noticed that roads with expensive, well kept houses tend to dispense with the house number and use names instead?

Or that council tenancy blocks with names like A, B, C, D appear to be poorly maintained?

One of the key differneces is that the people living there have taken ownership of their home – they feel they have made the place their own and will work to maintain and improve it. A house name is just one outward reflection of that inner sense of ownership.

And, just as it is with our homes, so the same is true with employees and teams. Teams with high ownership do better than those without.

In fact, as James  Saylor puts it in his book ‘Managing for Victory‘, “the ownership team is the most efficient and effective for today’s world”. He explains: “Owners are more naturally orientated to the customer. They take pride in their work. They nurture relationships. They know the importance of business partnerships. They enjoy their work knowing they will receive the reward for their efforts. They receive reward in the work itself by being in control of their performance. ” In short they are engaged in their work and their customers and that leads to a win-win for everyone.

But how do you increase team ownership easily?

One way to do it is by offering them their own scorekeeping program.

In this, Gamified Performance Management (GPM) approach, the team, together with their local manager, chooses how they want to keep score of their performance.

This leads to ownership of performance by the team itself, it is not left to only senior management to worry about.

Teams can make their own decisions as to what to score to keep and how to show it. For example, while some teams might show a collective tally (‘how many customers we served this week’), others might like to make it competitive (‘who served the most customers this week’). The key is that it is the local team who has decided, it has not been imposed by senior management.

If you’ve got it right, you should expect the scorekeeping program to have its own name. Instead of ‘Management targets for the North Region’ expect to see instead names like ‘Purple Squirrelers May Juniper Challenge!” – I for one know which team I’d rather be working in!

Traditionally in ICT we tend to implement homogenised systems, it is easier after all to create one template that works for the whole company uses after all, however in the era of Web 2.0 and tools like Rise where local customisation (metrics, names, images, colours and so on) is easy to do, there is no longer any excuse for boring looking, centrally dictated, performance programs.

So I say bring on the Purple Squirrelers… and let’s unleash a new era of ownership and engagement in our teams and communities.