Simon used the test tube first and he shared his idea with me.

A simple game.

Put a marble in the test tube each time you win.

What’s the definition of a win?

It doesn’t matter.

Of the accountancy firms I work with here’s three ideas now in full swing with the test tube and the marbles:

– a referral request is made = a marble goes in.

This firm is increasing the number of referrals they get so they grow their firm

– a tax return is done = marble goes in.

This firm is reducing the January glut of tax returns

– a big rock is achieved = marble goes in (I’ll explain big rocks in my next blog next week)

When the test tube reaches quarter full it’s ‘open the Quality Street tin’ time!

Half full and its pizza time!

Three-quarter full, it’s a 4pm finish and straight to the pub.

Completely full and we’re having the afternoon off!

Make up the rules of your game…

Your rules depend on the one focus you want from your team and how generous the reward/recognition should be (NB avoid cash – if you want to know why read chapter 7 of Sway by Ori and Rom Brafman).

You could avoid the game and simply track performance as a personal or team KPI – hopefully you can already see or sense this (normal approach) is short of energy, passion or fun.

It pays off to play a game!

So what’s going on to make these marbles and test tube games work?

And they do work – I’ll prove it in the next blog

1. It’s a game and people (your people) like games. They like games because it’s a chance to score goals and win – both as individuals and as a team. And most people prefer winning to losing!

2. Marbles in test tubes are noisy – it’s blatantly obvious to all present when a marble goes into the tube! The game is visual, it’s physical it’s not just mental

3. The tube is huge! The working environment has changed to accommodate the tube and the marbles. And with environment change often comes stronger performance towards the results you want

4. Team scepticism is soon dashed when the game starts

5. A weekly check in on game progress provides a way of performance managing the issue in focus – the problem you want fixing – the opportunity you want to realise.

When Michael Gerber (of E-Myth fame) asks his audiences…

“How do you get your people to do what you want them to do?”

He answers his own question with…

“You can’t! You can only create a game they want to play.”

Get yourself some marbles and a test tube and create a game for your firm! And read the next blog

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Paul Shrimpling

PS If you have examples of other games working in your firm please share them by commenting on this blog

PPS If you want to buy a test tube to kick-start a game in your firm go here.