Six Fortnite Survival Skills for Today's Workplace
No one quite knows how, or when, a newly released video game will catch on (if at all) in the market. Some games come and go without much excitement, and others seem to come out of nowhere and simply explode. If you haven't heard of Fortnite by now, congratulations, you have somehow managed to live off the grid! Just kidding - kind of.
Even the makers of Fortnite, Epic Games (formerly known as Unreal), were completely taken aback by the sudden rise their game had achieved. Not only is it wildly successful, but it's also free(ish). I have had ample exposure to the game, as my son is a gamer and YouTuber. Now that he is out of high school, and working full-time, he doesn't get to play as much. For the last few years, I have passively seen, and heard, him playing the game. I've even jumped on the headset once or twice to narrate the game as he and his teammates play. I'm sure they loved it as much as I did. And so here we are, two years and nine seasons later.
Check out this latest trailer by Epic Games Fortnite on YouTube if you are not familiar with the game:
The more I heard him play, the more I realized the sheer amount of multi-tasking that is required to play the game. I asked him if I could try, and I gotta say, it was sensory overload. There was a million different controller button combinations which required both hands and multiple fingers simultaneously, visuals on the screen to watch out for, written words to read on the screen, stats to keep up with, and a live conversation on the headset. I was like, "How the hell can you focus on so many different things simultaneously?" His reply was one word, "Practice."
In Fortnite, you can play a solo game, a twosome (duos), or in groups of four (squads). Occasionally, Epic will open a "limited time only" option for trio's. They also have a World Cup where players have to qualify and are chosen by the Epic team, and Fortnite Friday which is sponsored (usually by a pro gamer.) Needless to say, there's no shortage of upgrades and competitions to fuel the ambitious gamers looking for the Victory Royale.
The more I learned about Fortnite, the more I started to feel like it was not that much different than the workplace. The skills needed to survive in both environments are very similar. I'm always looking for the transferable skills in everything, and seek to identify the positives in certain things. Here's my take on the subject...
1. Teamwork - It makes the dream work after all, right? And in Fortnite, it can save your life. Obviously not all professions are so highly dependent on teamwork, though there are many more than one would think. We see the importance of teamwork every day in first responder professions, law enforcement, military, security, and other trades where safety is critical because the work takes place in dangerous environments, or the work itself is dangerous. We also see it in everyday jobs such as offices, restaurants, and any other type of job you can think of. If a job involves more than one person, the ability to work together is a must. People who play Fortnite depend on teamwork to win, and if everyone can bring the ability to work on a team to the workplace, then everyone wins.
2. Communication - My son is a pretty introverted guy. He is very quiet but, when he starts playing Fortnite, he's a chatter box. It's not because he wants to be, it's because he has to be. He, and his teammates, constantly share what they are doing with each other. They give each other live play-by-play commentary, and develop new strategies on the fly. There's no red tape, no approval to get from others, no waiting time. Just decisions, and action. I have never heard of him arguing or disagreeing with anyone before. If the team loses or they die, they all say "good game" (gg), thank each other, and say their goodbyes before logging off. Can you imagine going to work, and having to be on a team, and everyone on that team openly communicates with each other, on a highly-frequent basis, and when things don't go exactly as planned, saying "good job" and NOT playing the blame game or getting pissed at the manager or others who "dropped the ball"?
3. Multi-Tasking - I already mentioned this. Today's workforce needs to be able to do this. 100%. It wasn't always like this but, here we are. Many of today's jobs derived from a mash-up of a few different jobs that were likely created in the name of down-sizing, and multi-tasking is the key to executing in today's job market.
4. Discipline - I mean, it takes practice, patience, and skill to be able to play Fortnite with the best of them. My son is pretty good, yet he is humble enough to admit that he has a long way to go. He has a YouTube channel, and has played against some very good (notable) opponents, which is how he learned that there is always someone better, smarter, faster. But that doesn't deter him. It pushes him to be better. What does this mean? If we (as a collective professional world) would just challenge people in the workforce, and provide them opportunities to move up, we will see more effort, discipline, and learning from employees.
5. Change - Epic Games is always upgrading and updating the game. It evolves constantly so there is never really a "winner" per say. It's not like back in the day when you would beat Super Mario Brothers, and the game would just end, and you would have to start from scratch. Fortnite is the opposite of that, and because it is online, there is really no end in sight. At nearly $300M in revenue per month, Epic Games has the tools, and resources, to release new changes forever. The players have become accustomed to it. They love the idea of a new challenge. They live for it. Fortnite players not only welcome change, they embrace it, and ask for it. In today's workplace, this trait is essential for survival.
6. Learning - Gamers love learning. They love mastering new skills. They love learning new tricks of the trade. They love learning new strategies. They even learn about themselves. We all know that learning is important. If you have a gamer on your team, you probably have a life-long learner. It would benefit you to provide something for employees to learn. You never know, the result could be epic ;)
One additional thing that is required in both Fortnite, and in today's workplace: CYA - Make sure you always cover your ass.