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Let’s Hit the Links

Written by: Bill Sherman on Thursday, 27 July 2006, 10:07 PM

What do you do when an executive invites you to a round of golf? Maybe you’re a salesperson who wants to cement a relationship and turn a prospect into a client. Maybe you’re an employee who sees the game as a chance to bond with your boss and secure a key project or promotion. So, you dust off your clubs and hit the links. You’ve spent weekends practicing your swing with your titanium Big Bertha. You invested money in lessons from a golf pro. All that time should pay off, right?

Imagine that instead of taking you to the golf course, the executive hands you an Xbox 360 controller. Instead of trying to hit the sweet spot of the ball with your club, you’re now pulling triggers and pressing buttons–A, B, X, and Y.

While plenty of leaders and execs still head to physical golf courses for their recreation, there are many leaders and emerging leaders who relax in the digital world. For example, I know one former Fortune 500 C-level executive who plays Madden NFL with his college-age son. Together, the two of them play both individual games and entire seasons. A few years ago, he mentioned that the controller sometimes felt “too large.” When Microsoft launched the Xbox in Japan, they introduced a smaller controller for that market. So, I ordered one the smaller controllers and sent it to him as a gift.
Today, the Wall Street Journal had an article about professional video game players who charge $45 to $65/hr to coach players and show them how to improve their gaming skills. “Want to Get Good at Videogames? Hire a Kid Online

Ten years ago, few people made their living playing video games. Now, these professionals increasingly serve as mentors–just like golf-pros who coach amateur golfers. As the world moves forward, I expect some people will continue to hit the driving range to improve their golf game, but increasingly more people will practice their gaming skills to improve their business networks and their career opportunities.

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