12 Most Surprising Leadership Lessons Learned from Playing Angry Birds
The Angry Birds game has been downloaded over 300,000,000 times and more than 100,000,000,000 angry birds have been shot through the air. That’s a lot! In fact, every day people spend over 200,000,000 minutes playing this addictive game. Chances are you’re familiar with it.
Since people play it so much, I figured I might be up for a Nobel Prize if I came up with a way to learn real life lessons from it. I tried playing Angry Birds the other day on my iPhone and found tons of teachable points of view on leadership issues.
Here are twelve of the hidden nuggets I found:
1. Trying again is the only alternative to quitting
Playing the game can lead to very tough situations that had me banging my head on the wall trying to figure out a way. Just like in life, my only options were to quit or try again. Whining, searching for cheats, or skipping the level aren’t helpful options.
2. It’s important to utilize the right people for each situation
At some point, you end up having different birds to sling at the pigs and they all offer different skills. Sound familiar? Yep, just like in real life it isn’t wise to put a person in the wrong situation for their skill set.
3. Some walls require that you go around them, not through them
In the game, there are marble columns and stone walls that are very difficult to break through. If you try to break them, you fail…every time. It’s better to go around them. As a leader, this is a great reminder that you don’t need to take the most direct route to your goal, just the best route. Go around the stone walls or people.
4. It’s important to celebrate after every win
After every level, the birds celebrate loudly. Do you celebrate after every achievement? You should. It’s important to celebrate the little victories today.
5. Don’t be a pig
If you steal important things from others, it may come back to haunt you. Don’t anger your competition needlessly.
The whole reason that these birds are Angry Birds is because the pigs steal the bird’s eggs and upset them. They spend the rest of the game seeking revenge and trying to rescue their eggs. In the process they bust up the pig’s houses and basically destroy everything. This is definitely a good reminder not to be a pig. If it isn’t yours, don’t take it. In the end no one will win.
6. Precision matters
There are only a couple ways to win each level of Angry Birds and it takes precision to execute the strategy. That’s been my experience in life as well. Tossing up a Hail Mary is no way to lead people or win.
7. Allow time for things to develop
There were times in the game where I started slinging the next bird before the last bird’s damage was finished. It’s important to avoid leadership ADD and allow your strategies and organizations to develop, before throwing the next tactic into the mix. It may lead to waste and in some cases, even failure.
8. It’s okay to fail, as long as you learn something
There is no recommended strategy for each level. All you can do is try your best ideas and learn from failure that may follow. That’s one of the best lessons a leader can ever learn.
9. You can find a way
Several times I thought a level was impossible. I’ve felt this way in tough leadership positions. However, in life, as in the game, there is usually a way forward if you’re willing to keep trying.
10. Every person matters
In each level you only get a certain number of birds for each task. If you waste one of them, you usually fail. Not one of the birds is disposable. In every well run organization, each person matters also. No leader can afford to waste their team member’s time with worthless meetings, a lack of tools, or poor leadership.
11. Luck is needed
I’d be lying if I said that each level I passed was due to my excellent strategy and precision. There is some luck involved in life and when it meets preparation, you find success. The key is preparation and perseverance.
12. Sometimes you need a break
Losing sucks. In this economic environment, I know several leaders that are getting burned out. It’s okay to take a break, try something different, and keep the passion to fight on another day. It’s not failure unless you never try again.
There were several other lessons that didn’t make the cut and many more that I didn’t even think of. Does anyone have a #13 to add?