Stephen Gillett is really, really good at World of Warcraft. (For those of you at all familiar with the online game, he's a level 70 paladin and priest with a focus on healing, according to CNNMoney ).
He's also really good at business leadership, currently serving as chief operating officer at Symantec and having held executive roles at Starbucks, CNET, BestBuy and Yahoo.
For Gillett, these two skillsets aren't unrelated. In fact, he believes the lessons he's picked up from hours playing World of Warcraft – organizing dungeon raids, managing the group's virtual bank, recruiting new guild members – have directly translated into an impressive professional acumen. "I used to worry about not having what I needed to get a job done," he told Wired in 2006. "Now I think of it like a quest; by being willing to improvise, I can usually find the people and resources I need to accomplish the task."
He lists his World of Warcraft expertise on his resume as he would any other marketable skill. "Here's my guild. Here's my ranking. Here's my biggest online achievement," he told CNNMoney. Some people look at it and say, 'What the hell is this?' And others will be like, 'That's exactly what I'm looking for.'"
Gillett's elaborate knowledge of the role-playing game hasn't just enhanced his leadership skills -- it's also spawned a companywide initiative.
In 2008, Gillett was hired as Starbucks' chief information officer. Fresh off the financial crisis, the company was struggling to convince customers that its pricy drinks were worth the money.
As CNNMoney reports, Gillett was put in charge of a new unit tasked with expanding the company's digital interactions with customers. For inspiration, Gillett turned to World of Warcraft, taking what was addictive about the game and infusing it into the Starbucks experience. Now, when you visit a Starbucks you can join score points, unlock levels and earn rewards.
"I think gamification and the way of thinking about it is applicable to any industry," Gillett said.
Here that, gamers? Applicable to any industry. Time to level up.
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