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Thursday, December 15, 2011


I was in a meeting yesterday where I heard, “Well you’re the only one with skills to do that. The rest of us came up in corporate environments.”

Lesson: The skills we develop are appropriate for our current environment.

In Reamde, I remember two telling realizations.

Zula, the refugee niece, understood that looking good by keeping the suits communicated was more important than solving the problem. And the way to get the time to solve the problem.

Her Uncle Richard, the founder, was wondering just what his job was, until discovering a core threat, when he found that the suits didn’t have a frame of reference to even address how to solve the game ending problem.

When your environment changes, how do you change behavior for a group?

Well, let me back up. The game you are playing has changed in the last few years, right?


How do you motivate people you seldom see?

One of our best practices this year has been awarding badges. We got the idea from game designers and social networks, where awards are given for beneficial activities. Alex George  of The Federal Contractor Network called his "The Wall of Ego." I paid attention to that wall.

Ours is a little different. In every case the award doesn’t actually exist, it is just described. And it is made up the first time awarded.

We have awarded for first blog post, first public presentation, first sale, first completed project, first LinkedIn recommendation, first referral, first website, first software architecture of a new product, first Google Plus page, first Corporate Google Plus page, and so on. Notification of mastering necessary skills.

After someone gets an award, there is a flurry of activity as others pile on to get it.

We talked about the badges as they were awarded throughout the year, recalled them when embarking into a new area, like the Vikings meading up around the fire the night before a pillage.

Now it’s December, and I had three conversations yesterday going over the achievement of the past year. I’m seeing a hardened cadre of professionals able to get results in a new area in less than a day.

When we started, we have documented instances of over a year to get a first badge. They are part of our “I wish I knew then what I know now” culture. Humor greasing progress.

Badges. Who knew?

January 12th! Join us for The Direct Economy at AITP!
Consider: The future is already here, it's just not evenly distributed.
Did you ever notice, no matter how hard you do the wrong thing, it never quite works?
The Direct Economy will give you a better understanding of what is changing and how you can win at the new game. RSVP Here!

1 comment:

Unknown said...


A virtual marker for an accomplishment - meaningful to individuals and the others working with them. In the gamers world, or the social communities, badges provide instant credentials and feedback to the winner.

I recommend an exercise to folks - list your 75 best accomplishments - things that made you feel good, proud, caused growth.

I realized after reading your post, that this list is a 'badge aggregator' to collect together badges which may have gotten a bit dim in memory, but remain significant to the person.

You now have a badge for recognizing this valuable way to convey accomplishments in a very meaningful way.