What We Can Learn From Gamers?

October 1st, 2012

How do you deal with and approach new spends in your organization?

Today’s post is by Mark Davis; Sr. Vice President of Operations and CTO at SafeSourcing.

When I was younger, I loved to play video games.  The whole combination of dexterity, strategy and thought in order to be successful caught myself and an entire generation by storm in the 1980s.   Over time I began to slightly resent those who moved on and continued to play computer and Xbox type games not because they hadn’t grown up, but more because I had to and never had enough extra time.

That being said it struck me as odd that today’s post would find its roots in the lessons that today’s gamers learn every day and the reason why they are so popular.

The number one rule of any video games is that, until you master it, you are going to struggle initially and that there will be a battle to learn everything necessary to complete each challenge.  Gamers LIVE for this struggle!  It is the reason they continue to spend billions of dollars on the games and millions of hours playing them.  A game that lets you win every challenge and level without fail would never be purchased by anyone because there would be no fun in it.

What a strange contrast to the same situation each of us has in the corporate world.  Our careers are bigger, more complex and more important game-type situations where we face challenges and victories as well but we tend to look at challenges as something we don’t want to ever have rather than as an opportunity to learn and master something new.

Let’s take the thought process of a gamer encountering a new level or challenge in a game and apply it to a new category spend for a procurement professional.

 • Scout out what you can find out about the new challenge.  Don’t dive right in.  Feel your way around and observe what you can about the new encounter.  In military terms this would be called reconnaissance.
 • Move forward with the information you have collected and develop the   strategy by which you plan to succeed with what you have to that point.
 • Be prepared to adapt your strategy as soon as new information about the challenge pops up that was not known at the beginning.
 • Do not panic if the attempt begins to go awry.  You will never know all of the details you need before you begin a new challenge and sometimes the missing pieces will create big hurdles to overcome.  Soak in everything that is going on so that after the attempt is complete you can learn from what you didn’t know. 
 • If you do not achieve the success you planned on, use all of the details you collected and look at what was done right and what can be changed to improve the next time.  Armed with this information and any new information that popped up in the process your chances of success increase greatly.
 • Be excited when you can look back and enjoy the success when you get it and the effort you put in to get there.

This is the approach many gamers I know take to new challenges but it also mirror the same process and excitement we can have as procurement professionals with our own new challenges.

For more information on how we can help you source new and existing categories for your business, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.  

We look forward to your comments.

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