1 Comment

Thanks for this very thought-provoking post. It has certainly helped me reframe the process of learning the bureaucracy of the programme I have just joined. It feels better to think about being able successfully to raise a Change Request on ServiceNow as a puzzle in a game rather than an irritant and an obstacle to my "Real Work".

There is a key difference (at least in most organisations) between games and work: If you fail a level in a game, then you get to start again, trying different strategies and learning more each time until eventually you succeed. This thought reminded me of a conversation I had when I ran a large IT Programme for a public sector organisation. We had got to a pretty good level of performance and were looking at how we could keep improving as a team. When we thought about how very high performing teams work (e.g. Sports teams, Orchestras) we realise that we needed to make more time for practice and by implication more time for failure.

This also links in to the very famous Google study which found that Psychological safety was a key differentiator between successful and unsuccessful teams

Maybe treating work more like a game means providing people with an environment where it's safe to try things, to fail, and then try again.

Expand full comment