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Stop giving your worst performers 80% of your time

By on July 5, 2010
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Why does the games industry spend so much time at conferences talking about the technology and not about the people?

We spend so much time saying that we are a talent-led industry, but so little time talking about how to get the best out of that talent.

Darren Jobling of Eutechnyx just changed that. At the GameHorizon Conference, he told developers to change the way they relate to their talent.

1. Get your best people to do recruiting

You know the rule in dating – a 3/10 guy will chase a 3/10 girl (unless he has lots of money to improve his apparent rating). The same is true in recruitment. If you get your weak team members to do the recruiting, they’ll recruit people like themselves. As Darren says “to a 4/10 person, a 9/10 person is pretty scary.”

So get your 9/10 people to recruit. You might think you can’t afford them to spend their time on recruitment, but can you really afford to have any more 4/10 team members

2. Give 80% of your time to your best people, not your worst

Your worst people take up most of your time. You spend time on disciplinary action or pep-talks or management. You leave the best people to get on with it, because you can.

But what if you spent more time with them? What if you decided to schedule time with your best people and delegate the time with your worst.

Spending time with your best people is energising and invigorating for all involved. Make sure you do it often.

3. Hire people who are untrainable

There are some things that can’t be learned. Look for these in interview. These are probably more important than skills that can be trained:

  • Talent
  • Energy – If you want something done, ask a busy person
  • Drive – set a goal and achieve it
  • Attitude – Negative people are disastrous in teams. You can spot them by asking them about their previous employer
  • Integrity

The key to Darren’s talk is that your staff are your greatest asset. Talk to them (especially about new games platforms – you may find they know more than you do) and, above all, make sure that you are getting the best out of your best.

About Nicholas Lovell

Nicholas is the founder of Gamesbrief, a blog dedicated to the business of games. It aims to be informative, authoritative and above all helpful to developers grappling with business strategy. He is the author of a growing list of books about making money in the games industry and other digital media, including How to Publish a Game and Design Rules for Free-to-Play Games, and Penguin-published title The Curve: thecurveonline.com
  • Not to mention that in FTP Multiplayer games those users are content.

  • evanac

    I’d love to agree with Bjorn, but I think that Guy’s right. In the real world, with store front ratings systems, you have to pay equal heed to everyone, especially those who are most vocal, regardless of how valid their comments are. 😉 Nowadays *everyone* gets to hold the conch!

  • Guy

    @Bjorn

    I'd be very careful about extending this to customers. Dissatisfied customers (whose issues aren't addressed) are likely to post negative comments & ratings which will make growth and retention more expensive and difficult.

  • Incidentally, the exact same is true for customers, especially in the free-to-play market.

    The players requiring the most time are the players who'll spend the least money (if at all) on your services.