What Mobile Games and CSR Success Have in Common
2018-10-22 | 7 min read
I am one of those people that can’t wait idly. Whether I'm waiting for a flight at the airport, in line at the grocery store, or sitting in the stands before a sporting event starts, I must be doing something. If there isn’t someone readily nearby to talk with, I often turn to my mobile phone and open a game app. ‘It will keep my mind sharp’ I reckon with myself. In reality, maybe I’m just an impatient person. But then something happened recently that made me think there is a legitimate benefit in spending time with these games. It occurred to me that both gaming and business success have a common critical success factor: the need to stay focused on an objective. With that in mind, I can apply some of the same strategies from business to improve my gaming, and vice versa!
Revelation during the game level that wouldn’t end
Recently I was struggling with a particularly hard level in a match-3 mobile game app. ‘Why can I not get past this level’ I thought to myself as I tried for the 18th or so time. I was on level 435 or something crazy like that, so I clearly knew how to play the game. But this time was different. My usual approach wasn’t working. Finally, I took a step back and looked at the objective of the level more closely. That’s when I realized I wasn’t playing the level with the objective in mind at all! I wasn’t supposed to be collecting all the tiles with the cake image or eliminating the evil blob characters that would surely end my gameplay. I was supposed to be freeing the trapped figures! Well that explained it.
I had wasted so much time trying to solve for something that wasn’t even the objective of the game. I had become accustomed to winning levels the same way, and therefore was oblivious to the change in the goal. So, trying to solve it the same way was never going to work because the game had changed the objective, but I hadn’t changed my tactics. It occurred to me that business works much the same way. To be successful in business, it’s important to always keep the objective in mind, especially as it changes with industry and market shifts.
Win the game by focusing on the objectives
With more than 25 years in the tech industry, I have managed my fair share of business strategies, functions, and programs. In every role, I start with defined objectives to be clear on what needs to be achieved to succeed. From there, goals, priorities, and tactics form the basis of a business strategy. Executing to that strategy and mitigating risks – like avoiding those evil blob characters in the game -- while maintaining an eye on the end-objectives, helps ensure progress and ultimately success.
Keysight’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program is no different. As noted in a previous post, we aligned our CSR objectives to help meet the top-level company commitments and our CSR vision. By doing so, our CSR program supports the key tenets of the current business success strategy and we keep our eye on what that success looks like as we build our CSR-specific objectives and execute tactics.
Winning when the game changes
New or changing objectives do occur along the way as happened to me on level 435 of that game. I liken this to emerging trends in business. For business success, it is important to maintain a leading edge to ensure the company stays ahead of market trends without crossing into the negative impacts of bleeding edge. To do this, companies watch the horizon for upcoming innovations, opportunities and emerging stakeholder requirements. Re-evaluating business strategies and adjusting objectives to stay ahead is par for the course. Miss a critical signal to update an objective, and your business may struggle making it to the next level.
This is especially true in the CSR space. While top-level company commitments – such as revenue growth, profitability and shareholder value – may not change significantly over time, related CSR objectives to help meet those commitments do change as emerging trends impact how we do business and what is important to our key CSR stakeholders. As those objectives are tweaked, so too are the related tactics to ensure success.
As for me, I plan to keep gaming and learning
Just like I was reminded when pushing through to level 436, business success requires keeping an eye on existing and emerging objectives. Knowing what success looks like at every stage, whether I get to game level 500 or in managing CSR at Keysight, it is a continuing evolution to be reassessed and reworked on a continuous basis.