Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world. - Archimedes
Sooner or later in business we all need to move a mountain. It doesn’t matter whether you own or manage a sandwich shop, car dealership, tech start-up, or a big sales team. Maybe you have to dramatically increase sales, profit margins, improve turnover, or launch a new product. These tasks can seem like mountains. And at some point in your business, you will have to move them.
One thing I know to be true: you can’t move a mountain alone. You need support. And the more committed your support team is, the stronger you will be.
While researching this book, I was astounded to learn that over half of America’s workforce today is unhappy with their jobs.1 And according to a Gallup Poll, that percentage swung as high as eighty-five percent.2
Let that sink in.
It’s an uncomfortable truth to hear, to know that odds are that at some point at least half of your employees have been unhappy with their jobs. If you’re going to move a mountain, you want the best support you can have. You want devotion, the kind of dedicated, gung-ho workers who build the pyramids (believe it or not, they were built by volunteers, not slaves). But how do you get this kind of team?
The answer is Gamification.
Now do me a favor and picture your business, or any business, as a machine. A physical, real world machine. Let’s say an internal combustion engine in a car.
The car takes in fuel from the pump. The intake valve opens, and the piston moves down so that the cylinder fills with a mixture of air and gasoline. The piston pulls back to compress the mixture, the spark plug emits a spark, and the mixture explodes, releasing the energy that propels the piston down and, in short, makes the car move.
Guess what? This is not an efficient machine. And the business that it represents is not an efficient business.
Because creation of the energy that drives the car is dependent on fuel, a finite and often expensive external resource. For a business, that energy is the bottom line that drives the value of the company. And the fuel is the employees.
Unfortunately for cars and other physical, real-world machines, efficiency hasn’t yet moved beyond producing less energy than taken in. Eventually all machines break down as a result of this.
But in this book I will show you how by implementing a simple, common sense life-hack into your work environment, a system called Gamification, you can create a machine whose fuel source yields energy at maximum efficiency. Your machine will function as close to perpetual motion as possible, building momentum so powerful you will become an unstoppable force.
All you need to create this machine is to follow the system I lay out in this book. Gamification is your hack to improving sales, profits, morale, consistency, and overall fun.
Gamification is using game thinking or strategy in non-game, real world settings to problem solve or increase user contributions.
In this case that means building teams and having the enthusiastic, happy, and driven employees essential to a sustainable, healthy business.
Maybe you’re skeptical. Maybe you think games are for children, or you don’t like games, or you aren’t good at games. I’ve heard many business owners and sales managers start out saying and feeling those same things, and then witnessed firsthand as they went on to double their sales, increase margins and profits, and launch new, more profitable income streams, all while their employees were laughing, high-fiving, and racing to get to work. They were able to create perpetual motion.
Let me explain further: Your employees’ energy is something your customers can feel.
Think about going to the DMV. What do you feel when faced with a frowning, disinterested worker who tells you to take a number and wait? You probably don’t feel very good. In psychology, this is called mirroring. You subconsciously assume the behavior and attitude of the person you’re interacting with.
Now imagine a DMV where all of the employees are smiling and having the best day of their lives. I know, I know, government employees happy? Yeah right! But we’re suspending disbelief here.
Today the employees at the DMV are working hard, they’re happy, and they’re even friendly to you. Subconsciously you reflect that attitude. That’s how we’re designed to function as human beings. Suddenly waiting doesn’t seem so bad.
What this means is that when your team is having fun, and is driven and challenged, your customers will feel it. Energy is contagious. When your employees feel good, your customers feel good, and when they feel good, they buy more, your income grows, and you feel even better.
You’re going to create a new culture in your office or business. The positive energy instilled in your staff through Gamification will be infectious, and before long everyone will be buzzing with competitive spirit, coaching and cheering each other on.
When you successfully increase the morale of your staff, their confidence, discipline, and willingness to perform will grow. Studies have proven time and again that employees who are happier perform and communicate better. When you can create the kind of positive, recognition-based environment Gamification fosters, you’ll increase productivity and
As a leader, whether manager or company owner, your work culture will be one people love being a part of, where employees constantly push themselves to improve, because through Gamification gives them a personal investment in their work performance. And since their wins are your wins, you’ll find your company gaining momentum.
As this happens, you’ll very likely need to take on more employees to continue to meet demand. This is where the winning culture you’ve created comes in. Winners are attracted to winners. When you’re winning and your employees are winning, word will get out that your workplace is one for winners.
Inevitably, like dogs to a bone, the best of the best talent, or what I call “Top Dogs” will come sniffing around, barking at your door, wanting to work in the fun, exciting, and winning environment you’ve created.
A University of Toronto study referenced on the Business Insider website showed that department output increases by 54% when a new top dog arrives.3 Even if the top dog leaves, studies show the department still retains a 48% increase in performance afterward.4 And that’s assuming they ever leave. Because not only will your culture attract these top dogs, but it will give you a much better chance to keep them.
Countless times, I’ve seen a business with low morale, high turnover, and a bad reputation become a powerhouse, turning its destiny and financial situation around overnight.
These businesses end up with happier employees, more customers, and lower turnover. They attract the top dogs. They make more money. And most of all, they can move mountains.
Now you can start making all of this happen tomorrow through a simple hack, a system called gamification.