Insights are acquired from surprising places. One such place for me when it comes to continuous improvement and work in general is live video game streaming on Twitch.
In this post, I will dig into four behaviors that are regularly exhibited by the popular World of Tanks (an online team-based tank battle game) streamer QuickyBaby, adopting which can possibly make you a popular streamer, but which can also prove to be useful in many other pursuits in life.
Telepathy is in short supply among mankind. In his streams, QuickyBaby often explains what he is doing in the game and why. This enables his viewers to learn how he thinks, and possibly also learn some new things about the game itself.
In a corporate setting, being clear on your intentions is a key aspect of communication that helps prevent conflicts. Most conflicts arise when people have similar intentions, but actually disagree on some other assumptions, which causes them to interpret the causes and effects differently. However, if you want the same thing, and you both realize that, solving the conflict becomes much easier, as the different assumptions can be found out through various methods, such as the evaporating cloud technique.
One of the cornerstones of continuous improvement, or any improvement, is self-reflection. When QuickyBaby loses a match, or performs inadequately, he often spends a while pondering what he could have done differently – going through a couple of scenarios of what might have happened had he made different decisions, and whether those events would have been more favorable. Sometimes he is hard pressed to find any clear way to win a match, but he can often come up with some ideas that could have given him a better chance.
It is vitally important not to blame external factors for failure, and even if there are clear external factors, to nonetheless think about what you can do better yourself. I would even say that it is better to work with people who fail more but are able to reflect on it than to work with people who fail less but never learn from those few errors – eventually the more self-reflective type will outperform the initially more successful type.
Give credit where credit is due
QuickyBaby always reviews the match report after the match, and often points out people who performed particularly well. In some ways, World of Tanks is a relatively unfriendly community in that the past performance of all players is publicly available and, with mods such as XVM, visible to all players in a match, so people who have performed poorly in the past are rarely given much courtesy. Nonetheless, QuickyBaby is quick to praise even players with a poor track record for times when they do succeed.
This lesson is again directly applicable to work and life in general: praise works better than punishment, and even if someone has not always been successful, it is important to recognize their performance when they do succeed.
Don’t forget the fun
While QuickyBaby spends most of his playing time trying to make his team win, he can also have some fun when an opportunity presents itself. Especially when he teams up with friends, they joke over voice chat while playing and do some hilarious stunts when a match is so strongly in their favor that losing it seems very unlikely. As a great example of this, take a look at the Epic TOG Slide video, a link to which is at the end of this post.
This again applies to work as well. When everyone is working for the same goal, adding some humor to the mix only makes things better. (If the atmosphere at the workplace is tense, then humor might not be the first thing to make it better – perhaps try finding common goals first.)
When it comes to live video game streaming, there are obviously multiple routes to success. Informative, reflective, supportive, and fun looks like a recipe that has worked for QuickyBaby, but there are many successful streamers who are, for example, neither informative nor reflective in any way.
As for continuous improvement, all four aspects (informative, reflective, supportive, and fun) are more or less mandatory for success. As this example may hint at, such behaviors are not exclusive to Lean consultants. In fact, I am not at all sure whether QuickyBaby exhibits these types of behaviors because it is a conscious choice or whether they simply come naturally to him. However, even if all of these behaviors do not come naturally to all of us, we can all work on exhibiting more of them at work – in unique ways depending on our personalities.
Finally, I must note that QuickyBaby does not exhibit these behaviors 100% of the time. To be honest, I don’t think anyone can be something all the time. That’s just not how humanity works. Nonetheless, we can learn to exhibit desirable behaviors more, once we consciously recognize what those behaviors are.
Where to watch QuickyBaby
You can find QuickyBaby’s live streams on Twitch and video archives of some of them on Youtube.
Photo: Screenshot from Quickybaby’s Epic TOG Slide video on Youtube (used under fair use)