What is Your Purpose? Final Fantasy XIII and Leadership

life and leadership lessons from video games



Could you use a bit more simplicity & clarity in your life? I know I could. This is especially important to those in leadership roles.

Think about the simplicity & clarity of early video games like Pong.

Simplicity: You are a paddle, your opponent is a paddle, and the two of you are hitting a ball back and forth.

Clarity: If the ball goes past your opponent’s paddle, you get a point. If it goes past your paddle, they get a point. The first to 11 points wins.

Ever wish that your job was that simple? Sure, it might get boring after a while, but there are some days that I long for this level of simplicity.

Consider the efficiency and focus of a game of Tetris.

But life is not always that simple. As much as I am not a huge Final Fantasy XIII fan, the game can teach us a lot about the importance of clarity and focus in life.

 3 Questions to Clarify & Simplify Your Leadership & Life

Now a word about leadership – if you influence other people, you are a leader. And the best leaders can provide clarity and simplicity. In Final Fantasy XIII, we see Lightning as a leader for much of the game, but others step into the leadership role as well.

Leadership expert Andy Stanley points out three questions that anyone can ask of their organization, department, or even themselves to provide greater clarity and accomplish more. The crew from FF XIII provide examples from their story as well.

1.What Are We Doing?

In the world of FF XIII the god-like race know as the fal’Cie assign tasks to chosen individuals. The individual who is assigned the task is marked and becomes know as a l’Cie, given a very specific purpose or “Focus.”

While the specifics of the Focus are not always given in full initially, every l’Cie has the responsibility to carry out this task that is unique to them.

In your workplace does everyone on your team understand what you are doing? I had the chance to attend a Ritz Carlton training session in D.C. where I saw firsthand how the organization elegantly summarizes their mission statement in such a way that everyone in the organization can repeat it and live it.

“We are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen.”

Powerful, and I still remember it to this day.

Anyone at any level can appreciate, understand, and do amazing things with clarity.

Think about some of the early role playing and adventure games from the 80’s. I spent so much time just wondering around, with no clue where to go or what to do next. There was no Game FAQs to check, everything was trial and error.

Lots of error. life lessons from video games i am error

2.Why Are We Doing It?

Wow – if only I stopped and asked this question of myself more often. Have you ever stopped to ask why your job exists? What about the department you work in? At some point your title and department were created to meet a specific need – if you can connect to that – things just become that much clearer.

In most video games, our “why” is pretty clear. Think about the opening of Double Dragon. Thugs punch, then kidnap a girl. Then Billy Lee & Jimmy Lee appear. Is there really any need to say more?

If only your “why” was more obvious in everything you do.

Final Fantasy XIII gives crystal clarity (sorry, could not resist)  to the “Why” as each of the members of your party are branded and imprinted with a “Focus.”life lessons from video games final fantasy xiii

When we understand the Why, the What we do and How we do it become much more clear.

3.Where Do I Fit In?

On a more personal level, it’s time to figure out YOUR role.

What possible unique contribution can you make? Think about the combination of talents, gifts, and experiences you have – all together, no one else can do the things you can.

Don’t try to be someone you are not – try to be even more of who you are.

Most video game characters have unique skills and roles, skills that allow the hero to be the hero. It does not mean you are perfect, but if your ability is like Snow in FF XIII, you play the role of the Sentinel. Snow’s purpose is to draw attention to himself and take life lessons from video games snow quotedamage, thereby protecting the other members of the team who can focus on healing and attacking.

If no one takes on the role of Sentinel, the entire party can be wiped out very quickly.

Sometimes The Best Example is a Negative Example

Clarity does not guarantee success, but it makes it much easier to stay focused, motivated, and on track. Snow gives us a great example of what not to do as a leader when he says: “Since when have heroes ever needed plans?”

Failing to plan is planning to fail. A great way to lead is to make a plan to communicate to your team What you are doing, Why you are doing it, and How they fit in.