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Don't stand in the fire: Leadership lessons from World of Warcraft
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Don't stand in the fire: Leadership lessons from World of Warcraft

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Often the most memorable lessons are when we fail. In the real world, (especially in business), that can be costly. So why, in something as crucial as leadership, do we not play games to learn this …

Often the most memorable lessons are when we fail. In the real world, (especially in business), that can be costly. So why, in something as crucial as leadership, do we not play games to learn this skill where the costs are low? With massively multiplayer games like World of Warcraft we have an opportunity to start learning leadership and make mistakes. Without destroying a thing.

In this talk, I'll share eight leadership lessons I learned by playing WoW and give examples of times, both in-game and in real life, where I applied the lessons (or where I had a pretty epic fail because I didn't).

I didn't set out to learn how to lead in World of Warcraft, but I did. It has paid off in my professional career more than any other training.


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  • 1. DON’T STAND IN THE FIRE:Leadership lessons from World of Warcraft BRIAN HAWKINS @iuxc
  • 2. “There is not another form of technology on this planet that haskept up with games. The game industry marches on in the wayit does because it has this dream that, one day, it’s going to bereal. We’re going to have real life. We’re going to have realcharacters. We’re going to have real drama. We’re going tochange the world and entertain in a way that nothing elseever has before.”--SIR PETER MOLYNEUX
  • 3. Why games?
  • 4. <Nights>Founded in 2005
  • 5. A QUICK LOOK BACK2005 - 06 Casual guild2006 - 10 Raiding guild 2010 - 12 PVP guild 2012 - ? Raiding guild
  • 6. Eight lessons.
  • 7. Lesson one:Lose the ego.
  • 8. Doing the right thing is sometimesadmitting you did the wrong thing.
  • 9. Lesson two:Stand for something. (but not in the fire...)
  • 10. “Never forget what you are. The rest of the world will not.Wear it like armor, and it can never be used to hurt you.”--TYRION LANNISTER
  • 11. Do your own thing, own it, and other similar people will follow you.
  • 12. Lesson three:You can’t lead by doing.
  • 13. Lesson four:Solve the parts, not the whole.
  • 14. “Sometimes, in order to solve many problems, you mustfocus on only one for a time.”--EITRIGG, “The Shattering”
  • 15. Lesson five:Your people are more important than you.
  • 16. “It ain’t about you!”--DR. PHIL
  • 17. In a conversation there is the person talkingand the person who wishes they were talking.
  • 18. Lesson six:Ask questions.
  • 19. ASK QUESTIONS LIKE:Why?What were you thinking here?Tell me more about that...How can I help you?How can you fix that?
  • 20. Lesson seven:Be authentic.
  • 21. “People will forget what you said, and what you did, butthey will never forget the way you made them feel.”--MAYA ANGELOU
  • 22. Lesson eight:Don’t stand in the fire.
  • 23. I didn’t set out to learn how to lead in World of Warcraft, but I did.
  • 24. Lesson nine:Thank you.(the most important one)
  • 25. BRIAN HAWKINS@iuxc