“Leadership and management skills required?” I gasped as I began to play this game on my iPad, then later load it on my Android, and even more recently, iPhone. “I just want some simple diversion, not to have to think while playing a game.” Yet, I resisted the urge to delete the app. Something kept me hooked, and periodically, without realizing it, I found myself observing the valuable lessons in leadership and management the Game taught. May I share a few of these not so serious leadership lessons?
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As a veteran Clash of Clans gamer, I have found myself reflecting on what powerful lessons this game teaches those who play it. It’s only natural, of course, given the amount of time and discretionary funding I’ve spent. Of course, this wasn’t my intent when I started playing, submitting to the incessant encouragement, exhortations and downright nagging of my son about a year ago. In no particular order, here are some leadership lessons:
Lesson #1 – Get involved.
If you’re a laggard when playing Clash of Clans, your clan may decide to “kick you out” because you don’t play well. So, you need to “show up and be present” when there’s a war on. The flip side of that is that if you’re a leader in your clan, you have to be willing to ruthlessly prune (a euphemism for kick out) your clan mates if they aren’t willing to launch their attacks, invest 100% in the game. Sitting on the sidelines isn’t an option.
Lesson #2 – Develop your individual team members.
When you are in a war, the higher the opponent you are able to gain stars (total of 3) on when attacking, the more loot you get. But you’ll find that Level 1 players fight ineffectually in war, and succumb to the pressures of a tough field under fire. No team member is beneath being developed, and it’s your responsibility to cajole other clan members, as well as your own teams, to build up their skills.
Lesson #3 – Develop capacity to needed to support growth.
In Clans, if you don’t build up your capacity to store loot (gold, elixir, dark elixir), you won’t be able to grow. Simply your ability to grow is directly connected to your storage of what your team needs to be nurtured. As a leader, you have to continuously improve so that you can save for the tough times or be able to store enough so that you can save resources that are needed.
Lesson #4 – Grow a little each day to achieve big outcomes.
As a leader, it’s easy to want to pile it on before the big deadline, getting the work done in one rush of adrenalin. Unfortunately, real change isn’t like that. There are no shortcuts, I’ve learned. You have to make the changes, slowly, over an extended period of time. In Clash of Clans, that slow growth pays off big in time. Consider this Todd Nielson story:
…changing our current state does not necessarily have to be hard. Learning a new language is hard, but if you learned 10 words a day or 5 words a day, how much greater could you learn to speak that language, than if you had done nothing? Dr. Nido Qubein, said: “I learned English by memorizing ten words a day. Each day, I would review the words I had learned the day before and then study 10 new ones. By the end of the week I had added 70 new words to my vocabulary. It was this consistent effort, that enabled me to achieve fluency in English.” Source: Don’t be a Status Quo Leader
Lesson #5 – Match your team members’ strengths to the challenges ahead.
In Clash of Clans, it’s very easy to lose sight of the fact that your strongest players (e.g. dragons) may not be the best to solution to apply in every situation. Each team member has strengths, but they may not be as powerful in the face of obstacles specifically designed to push back against them. As a leader you have to know exactly how to put them into play so that they are successful, that their interdependence enables each to be successful against the challenges they are most equipped to handle successfully.
and, a bonus:
Lesson #6 – Develop relationships.
While it’s easy to tell your clan, “fight or be kicked,” the truth is that encouragement can go a long way. Not only encouragement but lending a helping hand when necessary (e.g. providing Clan Castle troops as needed by the team so they will be able to seize loot and be successful when at war or raiding others).
Playing Clash of Clans sends a powerful message to future leaders…and there are many more lessons that time and reflection may be able to tease out. See you online!