We all love playing games. The activity of playing games has been around for quite some time. From simple board games to the early days of electronic video games, such as MARIO or PONG, the desire to achieve pre-determined goals that comes with playing games is programmed in our genes. The drive is the fact that we would either win or lose. Games also put us in a mode of competition and offer a sort of exhilaration.
This need for exhilaration in our day-to-day working life has made businesses come up with a new phenomenon called “Gamification”. It is as simple as it sounds: incorporating game elements into every-day, non-game activities. This simply encourages people to do certain tasks or achieve certain goals but not like a “to-do” tasks list, but more like a game. The rewards are also simple i.e. players are awarded badges, ribbons and points for completing the required tasks or for achieving specific “check-ins”. So the more you win such credentials, the more the probability for recognition and the movement to the next level. The other side to this is that players can compare their stats with their co-workers and the rest of the online community, thus generating competition.
The whole idea is to have fun and incorporate a healthy environment of challenge and competition. So for instance if a business is incorporating such gamification techniques in simple sales driven teams, as a manager, if you feel your team is not achieving the set targets or is low in motivation, try introducing a badge or point system for your sales team. The more the team members accumulate such points for their targets, the more the distinction and recognition they get. The other element to gamification is to make it public amongst teams, so that it generates the spirit of competition and curiosity, which would encourage people to participate, in-turn benefiting the business to achieve their overall goals.
Gamification is also being used as a great tool for customer engagement. Gone are the days of boring advertisements of “Buy 10, Get 1 Free”. Now-a-days businesses are using the same point system to boost customer engagement and loyalty. Businesses are coming up with innovative ways of tracking customer activities and behavior through the mobile apps technology, thereby offering customized ways to gain more points and perks through Gamification. With the help of this new phenomenon, customers are also becoming brand advocates. They are more engaged, more interested and more involved.
Gamification is becoming a major game-changer in the business and corporate environment. Companies are linking this new phenomenon to the overall business goal. It’s a practice that can certainly deliver impressive returns if done properly. With the advent of new technologies and the internet, businesses now also have the opportunity to run rewards/points programs with their customers on a bigger scale. The key is to design a well thought about gamification plan that helps engage and motivate people, increase brand loyalty and last but not the least, help in overall business growth.
There is a difference between being a good manager and being a good boss, not to mention they both need strong leadership qualities. According to a recent research, 86 percent of employees believe that if they get along well with their boss they are more productive.
Pressure and deadlines don’t always work towards bringing out productivity; it’s more about how a boss manages and spearheads his team, which is also directly linked to the fact that how well they are liked by others.
Here is a list of 5 habits of highly likable bosses:
Being positive is the most important attitude for a boss. Even in times of gloom and despair if a boss can maintain positivity, it helps raise the entire teams’ spirit and motivation. As a rule of thumb, be optimistic and genuine with the people working around you and they will be more likely to react in the same way, making the workplace a healthy and constructive place to be.
Leadership in any organization should always be available for face time with their employees. Team members are more likely to come to their bosses with ideas and potential solutions when their bosses make it clear that they value their employees’ opinions and want to hear them. So be there and be available.
Work happens; deadlines are met and with all of that life happen, so it’s always good to be real and flexible. Be understanding and open minded when things go wrong, and accept that people make mistakes. As a good boss you should have the ability to decipher what is important and what is not. Be flexible in trying new options and know when to let go to diffuse a highly tense situation in your team.
Positive feedback is very important to boost the morale of any individual or a team. Praise and appreciation is just important as criticism, and you should make it a point to complement your people for a job well done. Always keep your appreciations fresh, true and always mean it.
Greeting people by their names and making small talk can go a long way in building good relationships. Always try to understand people as humans first and then employees. Involve yourself into their conversations, give friendly advice and always offer help. Building strong and friendly relationships can help you bring about a sense of oneness and ownership in your team.
Change is inevitable, and it is important to keep improving with change. Kaizen refers to the philosophy of continuous improvement and change for the better. Kaizen used in the business sense refers to activities that continually improve all functions of an organization, and involves all employees from the CEO to the lowest line workers.
The word Kaizen means “good change” and its main focus is the standardization of activities and process, to gradually eliminate waste and improve performance. The practice was first implemented in many Japanese businesses, after the Second World War, partly influenced by American teachers of quality management.
The five key elements of Kaizen:
– Teamwork: In a business setup, all employees should work as a team towards a common and unified goal, or a business objective.
– Discipline: It is important that all employees of an organization practice self-discipline towards managing work, time, quality and loyalty towards their company.
– Morale: All employers should be moral in their approach towards running a business and value their work force. Rewards, recognition, work benefits, medical care, bonuses etc offer security of employment and a sense of motivation.
– Sharing knowledge or quality circle: All employees or members of an organization should have the opportunity to share ideas, skills and resources on a common platform. This sharing and exchanging will encourage them to gauge their performance based on other companies Kaizen programs, which would in turn help them to improve.
– Providing Suggestions for improvement: Last but not the least, the practice of Kaizen encourages employees from all levels to provide suggestions for improvement. No matter how irrelevant the suggestions might be, they should be welcomed, appreciated and considered at all times.
TPS – Think People System (Toyota Production System Case Study):
At the Toyota Production System all employees and team members are encouraged to think about the process and make timely decisions in order to keep it running smoothly, rather than merely operating like machines. This involvement creates responsibility for the success of the process, increasing both morale and quality.
Every morning a meeting is held to discuss quality deviations and eliminate their causes. Everybody is encouraged to think and contribute ideas and suggestions. For example, at Toyota Material Handling Europe’s production sites about 3,000 proposals for improvements are made each year.
MBO – more popularly known as Management By Objective, is a term that was first coined by Peter Drucker in 1954 in his book The Practice of Management. The essence of MBO is to define clear objectives within an enterprise, that helps management and employees work towards a common goal. The process involves setting short term and long term goals, choosing a corrective course of action and making strategic decision.
In any organization, typically all employees should be involved with the goal setting process and should choose the appropriate course of action to be followed. That way they are more likely to fulfill their responsibilities and in-turn achieve organizational goals.
The first step in implementing MBO is to establish long-range company goals in such areas as production, marketing, services, sales, R&D, human resources, finance, information systems etc. A business owner should begin by defining the company’s current business status and looking for emerging market trends that may require adaptation. This is kind of long term planning provides a framework for forecasting the organization’s future staffing levels, marketing approaches, financing needs, product development focus, and facility and equipment usage.
Typically, companies should plan yearly and then break down these long term plans into department wise objectives and eventually as achievable goals for employees. A point to note here is to make sure employees from all departments clearly understand and support the overall goal of the organization. As a manager or business owner, it is important to be involved in such goal setting activities, from the very beginning, as this will increase their commitment to achieving the goals, allow them to communicate the goals clearly to subordinates, and help them to create and align their own goals to support the company goals.
Overall, establishing an MBO system in any organization may be difficult, but it is usually worth it. It is always advisable to introduce MBO slowly into an organization, and all employees should be given the opportunity to set short terms goals to start.
The most difficult aspect of implementing MBO may be simply getting people to think in terms of results rather than activities. Therefore, a formal training program for business owners is always a necessary tool that helps them understand the importance of MBO. Hiring an outside consultant to explain the process of setting an MBO program within an organization is always a good start.
MBO is not a definite theory, but more of a collective goal setting activity. It helps business owners actually analyze their actual goals by looking at the bigger picture.