16th October, 2017 By An Coppens
In life and in business, we will all experience some uncertainty. Uncertainty can cause people to make decision, which can be compared to fight, flight or freeze modalities known from fearful situations. In a game scenario, you would still continue playing and you would test out new strategies to see if they allow you to gain in the game. Of course the impact in a game, may not be as far reaching and have consequences for your livelihood.
In my years working with change in business, most people don’t enjoy change that much. If uncertainty persists, good people will start looking elsewhere, because they would rather keep their destiny in their own hands rather than at the mercy of a company or in a Brexit scenario a government. As a business owner unsure whether I as the owner will be allowed to stay, a lot of options are open. Anyway back to business, long drawn out change rarely retains everyone in the organisation and the longer a change takes, the more engrained both sides become.
Gamification when introduced often kicks off a change program whether you like it or intended it or not. Giving a clear vision of why the new way of working is deemed helpful is good to communicate or at least to be allowed to explore. The key in a game is to always show the first next step needed to be successful, in gamification fuelled change I am a big fan of doing the same. Show people in small steps how they can be successful. As you move forward an over-arching theme or narrative can drive the big message and purpose, but then on a practical level knowing what to do next is most important.
Trust levels in management and decision makers as well as understanding the reasons for the change are helpful to build on. Risk and ambiguity tolerance will account for the rest of the behaviour at play when uncertainty hits. Imagine playing a game of blindfold, where someone else is guiding you through a maze or obstacle course. Your level of trust in them may indicate how much you will follow their instructions. Fear of falling or doing something uncomfortable may stall some people and extra encouragement is necessary. Managing the process is best done in small steps whilst keeping an eye on the player.