G.A.M.E.R. Philosopy

I had a great chat with iGamify’s (http://www.igamify.com/) CMO Ben Bressington, He was kind enough to share his game/business/life decks with me.  We also chatted about what he was doing to bring process and procedure around Gamification in the work place particularly small to medium sized businesses.  However, after speaking with him for about 30 minutes I came to realize that his G.A.M.E.R. formula he uses to create “engagement opportunities” (I like this better than the world game) is more than just a process or a procedure, it is a philosophy to live by. 

Think about our adult lives, once we leave the parental home through to the time we retire we work approximately 2420 hours out of 8760 hours available to us through the years.  Of course some work more, some work less, but based on a standard 40 hour we work between 25 and 30 percent of the time.  Now for those who are in leadership positions within your organization, I ask are your employees happy and engaged? Do they come in everyday enthusiastic about their jobs?  As a person who is in a leadership position, if your answer is “I don’t know” to those to questions, I suggest that you may have an engagement issue, if you answered yes, I would challenge you to prove it, as I have shown in earlier blogs that only about 30% of the work force is engaged with their job.

Now I do understand that we do need a separation between work and home life, but does the separation of work and fun have to also exist.  Bringing fun into the work place does not equate to gaming.  Gamification as we know is not game, it is not about games, it is about game mechanics, and applying them to real word process or procedure.  By taking ahold of the G.A.M.E.R philosophy we can apply this to not just the work place, but our lives as well, (there is a life deck). 

First find the goal, describe the goal in terms of the future state, and secondly take a couple of minutes and think about the actions you need to take to achieve that goal. Along with the goal, we have to provide a purpose to what we are doing, giving it context.  For instance, if your goal is to increase sales, my first question is “for what purpose.”  Goals need to have a purpose, without purpose there is no direction.  The purpose of the goal will help us define the verbs which are “doing” words; they define some sort of call to action how can you take action if you don’t have a purpose. 

Along with our purpose we need to determine skills and resources needed to obtain these goals. You may want to increase your sales for the purpose of wanting to expand your product lines, however if you don’t have the skills and resources to towards the purpose you cannot succeed.   Next you’re your goal and purpose you begin creating a to-do list of action statements that will move you from your current state to the new state.  The statements will reflect those actions that include ensuring that you have the skills and resources needed to move towards the goal.

Thirdly, when we start down the path towards are goals, we have to monitor the goals, what is the feedback loop we are going to use.  If we want staff to increase sales, then the staff needs to have feedback in order to know where they are.  If the goal is to increase a person’s sales by 10% per day, then they need to know what their average sales are for that day and then have the feedback to see where they are.  But it is more than that, if you did not tie this feedback to actions that give your staff the skills to sale add-ons or up sell, the feedback may backfire, so care must be taken in monitoring. 

Another factor is how we can add enjoyment to those activities that lead us to our goals.  As a business owner, do you take the time to create an engaging work place that taps into those motivations that align with the goals and activates.  We can create fun through some game like mechanics, such as competition, or perhaps something that gives someone bragging rights.  In order to deliver the right type of enjoyment, there needs to be an understanding of what enjoyment means, we all enjoy different things, so what motivates me may not be the same as another person.  Enjoyment needs to come from within, so while there is nothing wrong in building extrinsic motivations,  the need to look at those who are participating in your goals and determine what makes them tick is important so that you can speak to those internal motivations, the ones that give a person that feeling of a job well done.

Lastly in our G.A.M.E.R. are the rules of what we are doing, if the goal was to lose ten pounds, than a rule would be that eating 1500 Calories a day is how I am going to achieve that goal.  Putting it all together, the weight loss scenario is good.  The goal I would state as “I wish to lose ten pounds so that my blood pressure lowers and I will not need to take medications.”  Now list a few goals, I will buy a new digital scale, I will count calories, I will eat less and exercise more, I will eat health foods”.  Of course monitoring this would be counting calories and stepping on the scale. 

Adding enjoyment can come in many different ways, such as using a new app, to count calories, I have a great one I use called “Lose it”, I talk about this all the time.  You might want to try new recipes that use healthier choice foods.  Then take the time to brag about the recipe on face book.  Lastly the rules, such as how often you will get on the scale, maybe you want to eat at specific times.  I always run at lunch time, at work that is a rule my colleagues know I follow and therefore try to avoid scheduling meetings when I run.   I believe that if we add G.A.M.E.R. to our lives not only at work but at home, we will succeed in the goals.  In essence we are breaking down the components of success so that our goal is manageable and attainable.


Leaders versus Manager a Comparison

Lately I have been working on a project to create an environment to learn about leadership.  But I am finding that organizations often do not differentiate between a leader and a manager.  We often see a manager as a leader, but yet they are two distinct skill sets, leaders are often seen as someone who directs and instructs people and makes important decisions for the organization.  In fact a leader may have some of those attributes but a leader is much more than that.

Reh (n.d.) states that “At the most basic level, a leader is someone who leads other.”  This is a pretty fundamental statement, if a leader does not have a follower, then you are not leading.  I have said the same thing about a manager, a manager without direct reports is an employee not a manager.  I have worked in jobs where I had a title like Data Manager, but in fact I managed data not people, so in fact I was not a manager at all, perhaps the job is really Data Management.  Of course companies like to give titles to people to make them feel important. But if a manager does not have a direct report, or if a leader does not have a follower, they are neither a Manager nor a Leader.

Allen, M. (n.d.) has a great list of the differences between a leader and a manager.  Go through the list I think it really spells out a lot of differences.

– The manager administers; the leader innovates.

– The manager is a copy; the leader is an original.

– The manager maintains; the leader develops.

– The manager focuses on systems and structure; the leader focuses on people.

– The manager relies on control; the leader inspires trust.

– The manager has a short-range view; the leader has a long-range perspective.

– The manager asks how and when; the leader asks what and why.

– The manager has his or her eye always on the bottom line; the leader’s eye is on the horizon.

– The manager imitates; the leader originates.

– The manager accepts the status quo; the leader challenges it.

– The manager is the classic good soldier; the leader is his or her own person.

– The manager does things right; the leader does the right thing.


Think about any of the mangers you have had over the years,  if your manager was more concerned with organizing the work of the department, making sure that the right resources were assigned to tasks, ensure the tasks were executed with quality.  Then you were not led, you were managed.  A leader does not look at people as someone to order around, they look to develop their employees, give them purpose; they inspire employees to do their work by nurturing peoples skills that allows them to develop the talents needed to get the job done right.  Of course a manager may be a leader, but in actual fact anyone can be a leader, leaders can be anywhere in the organization.  Organizations should be looking for these leaders in their organizations and nurturing them, they are the future of the organization.


Reh, J. (n.d) ‘What is a leader?’[Online]. Available at: http://management.about.com/od/leadership/a/whatisaleader.htm (Accessed: October 15, 2013)

Allen, M. (n.d.) ‘What is the difference between Management and Leadership?’ [Online]. Available at: http://guides.wsj.com/management/developing-a-leadership-style/what-is-the-difference-between-management-and-leadership/  (Accessed: October 15, 2013)


Two Leaders I admire (Discussion post for Cornell University Change Leadership course)

Share examples of two or three people you’ve encountered in your professional or personal life whom you would consider to possess a high degree of credibility. What made them credible in your eyes? What did they do to build and/or maintain their credibility? What lessons can you draw from these encounters that you can apply in your professional relationships to build and maintain credibility?


Over the years I have met many wonderful people whom I believe have a high degree of credibility.  First John Stanton, CEO and founder of the Running Room, this is a large chain of retail stores specializing in Running.  What makes him credible is perceived honesty and warmth, he cares about people, but it is more than that. John’s passion for running goes beyond just selling running gear, he believes in running and that anybody can run.  He maintains this attitude and travels all Canada and the world to motivate people to run.  His talks are not about his gear why you should buy his merchandise, it’s about running and why he runs, why we should run.  He goes out of his way to be available to anyone who wants to talk to him.  His leadership in sports and fitness has made running assessable to anyone who has the heart to run no matter what pace or the distance.

My first encounter with John set me on a path that has lasted a decade now.  The first time I met him was in Halifax when I bought his book and went over to have him sign it.  He asked me what distance I was running, I replied “Just a 10K”, his reply “You are not running just a 10K, you are running a 10K.  This is your race, you trained for it, it is as important to you as a marathon or half marathon race is to those who are participating in them.”  To this day, when talking to other runners, who say that, I repeat those words.

Another credible person was a colleague from my work, Paulo Ranzani, he is the ultimate professional when it comes to information technology.  Again like John, he shares honesty and warmth, you can count on him to help on a task, teach you how to do something if you don’t know how.  The type of person whom if he makes a promise keeps it, no matter how hard he has to push his agenda or work.  He is passionate in all his activities; he does not take half measures when there needs to be a change or action.  When he leads people follow, but throughout all like John he remains humble.

The two examples above, one from my personal life and one from my professional life, share many traits.  One is passion, whether they trying to get a nation to run or make changes to health care in the Northwest Territories, both men are passionate about the changes they want to make.  These gentlemen are both honest, if you ask them a question they always answer honestly, if they say they will do something, both will do it.  Both men inspire other people to reach for higher goals. Both are warm, empathetic, inspiring and caring, both personally and professionally.  Both are very charismatic as well, and both are dynamic in nature able to change as circumstances require them too.  These are traits I aspire to, and hope in term inspire others to do the same.