WHAT I LEARNED ABOUT BEING A SUCCESSFUL 21ST CENTURY LEADER BY PLAYING VIDEO GAMES: MASS EFFECT
Identify the right strength combinations and develop them to the highest level!
In this post, I explain why Mass Effect has enabled me to be a better leader. Mass Effect is a classic story set in the future in which a superhero (you!) saves the universe from disaster by leading their squad to battle evil.
What is the connection between Mass Effect and leadership? In Mass Effect, you develop your character over time and upgrade your abilities to become stronger and better. To play at the highest levels of the game, you must develop the right combination of abilities to survive the battles you face. It is crucial to recognise that you can only succeed by developing your strengths to the highest levels of excellence. If you focus on averaging your weaknesses, rather than upgrading your strengths, then you cannot compete when it gets really tough. This is because you lack the health and weapon mastery you need to overcome the really tough alien monsters!
As leaders we often face of monstrous challenges (see what I did there?). If you and your team are to cope with a really tough challenge, then you need to have a really high capability to cope with that challenge. In Mass Effect, you succeed by having the right combination of strengths developed to the highest level. If you and your team haven’t developed the right combination of strengths then you lose to the monsters. As a leader, if you haven’t ensured that you and your team have the right combination of strengths, and that they are sufficiently developed, then you will lose to the challenges you face. However, unlike in the game, you cannot simply re-load the last save and try again!
What should you do to be successful? Successful leaders pay close attention to developing a portfolio of strengths for themselves and for their teams to ensure success e.g. communication skills & strategy. It’s no good only being good at one; you need to develop the combination of strategy and communication skills! You must carefully select the strengths that best complement each other and develop them to the highest standards. However, don’t just focus on your strengths but work on complementing the strengths of your team mates for maximum success.
1. Identify the skills sets you and your team need to succeed.
2. Find effective ways of combining those skill sets to unlock effective combos.
3. Focus on developing those skill sets to the highest standards.
In summary, focus on developing the right combination of skills for yourself and your team and then develop that combination to the very highest standards possible. By doing that, you will have the mastery you need to overcome the toughest challenges. See you on the battlefield…!
Example of personal combinations: In Mass Effect you can get a skill to instantly remove an opponent’s shield and you can also get a skill to deliver overwhelming force in one shot. Developed to a high level this is a deadly combination as you instantly strip a foe’s shield and use one shot to eliminate them. From the perspective of leadership, one could develop very high levels of emotional intelligence and communication skills. The ability to profoundly understand the other and communicate effectively with them unlocks the powerful ability to rapidly develop high-trust relationships which is important in a rapidly changing world.
Example of team combinations: In Mass Effect (and many other games), it is good to have different types of players working together as a team. You might have a very slow and strong character who can take and give lots of damage, a light and fast player who is good for surgical strikes and a healer who is less strong offensively but heals and protects the rest of the players on the team. For real life, you could have one team member who excels at organizing events, one who is brilliant at creating new ideas and one who is really good at looking after everyone’s happiness. The leadership challenge is to get the right skill sets, combine them effectively and ensure they are continuously developed!