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Gaming the Virus to Win at Virtual Leadership

  • Gaming the Virus to Win at Virtual Leadership

Business leaders across the globe have seen global virtual teams (GVT) become the norm rather than the exception due to the world-wide Covid-19 pandemic. Working virtually has both benefits and drawbacks within a team structure. With video conferencing technologies and online data-sharing platforms already in place for most companies during the last 5-10 years, business teams easily transitioned to home-office environments as global shut-downs began. What proved challenging for team leaders, however, was how to manage and improve team engagement in a mandated virtual interaction world.

An innovative solution to that challenge was featured in Forbes Magazine this month. In the article, Nora Grasselli and Bethan Williams from ESMT Executive Education in Berlin shared a “gaming” concept they developed in 2019 to remotely educate executive clients in the art of virtual collaboration. They named the game The Virus long before the pandemic began, and the irony of it has not escaped anyone who has used it during 2020.

It’s an escape-room-styled game which “pits executives against imagined cybercriminals. In just 30 minutes, the players must work together and pool their resources to discover clues, solve puzzles, and accomplish tasks to stop the cyber attack. The catch? Not everyone is in the same room. Unlike most classic team-building challenges, the game does not grant players the luxury of all looking at the same visual or numerical data. Instead, the executives are split into three teams (or “local offices”), each receiving different parts of the puzzle via the in-game app. To succeed, the players must rise to the challenge of sharing this rich contextual information via conference calls only.”

Grasselli and Williams explain that the game explores many team-building concepts including how decisions are made and analyzed, how power is distributed, and whether creativity is utilized to troubleshoot challenges.  EMST has found that most of their executive clients “often fail to complete the challenges set by the game’s cybercriminals within the allotted time….[and that] losing a fictional battle creates fruitful ground for vivid discussions about real-life leadership practices in a virtual world.”

To read Grasselli and Williams’ Forbes article in more detail, click here.

If you are considering adjusting your company focus to have more virtual teams, we are experts in that arena. Our entirely global team has an excellent track record of being able to work well together across multiple time zones and within multiple client environments to deliver exceptional results.  Contact us today to set up a meeting to learn how we can help your company experience the same type of success with your virtual teams.

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