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The Kids Are Alright / Got Game

I’m usually wary of books that change their name – this one used to be called ‘Got Game’ when it was published as a hardback in 2004 – but in this incarnation, it was recommended by Euan Semple and Johnnie Moore, so I thought it worth another look.

And it is.

Beck and Wade’s research findings and views on how to lead and be led by the gaming generation in the workplace are illuminating. I particularly like the section heading “Leaders? We don’t need no stinking leaders” and the explanation that “For starters, in the world in which gamers grow up, leaders are basically useless…”.

True. But there again, even for the non-gamer generation, leaders are basically useless. Some research I was involved with a while back showed that nine out of ten managers find their own line manager or organizational leader ‘uninspiring’. In my book that makes ninety per cent of supposed ‘leaders’ in organizations useless.

I’m not convinced by some of the arguments in The kids are alright, such as differing attitudes to risk when you have a reset button to push lead to the need to help younger employees manage risk more effectively.

But, there are useful explanations to ease culture clash in the workplace, for example, in pointing out that a manager approaching a gamer generation employee who has one ear piece in their ear, listening to their iPod, an IM window open on their desktop, two documents and a U Tube window open, and may not even stop using the keyboard as the manager is talking to them, may indeed be listening. Just not the way you and I listen.

It’s not that the gamer generation can multi-task, say Beck and Wade. Technically, there is no such thing as multi-tasking. Their brains are just more adept at leaping from task to task and back again in ways that disorientate non-gamers. They don’t have the timelag.

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