Have you ever thought of sending your employees to a two days bridge camp for training purposes? Or by any chance have you used this game as a training tool? Sounds weird, isn’t it?
Well, I have quite often used it as a training tool in my workshops owing to its benefits on how it stimulates one’s mind and enhances other related behavioral skills. In the corporate world, HCL has been a pioneer in introducing this Game of Bridge in the year 2003. Mrs. Kiran Nadar, director, HCL Corporation and an internationally acclaimed bridge player says “It is a demanding game mentally and requires complete concentration”. Another benefitting fact of playing this game is that it boosts your memory, protects you against Alzheimer’s in old age and is an excellent game to sharpen mental faculties.
In general, the game of cards is considered a game played more often by men and are commonly associated with betting/gambling only. However, in reality the “Game of Bridge” being the most popular game of cards is widely played across borders by all cadres of people. Many companies have introduced it for employees to make them learn various lessons while having fun of playing it in office as per a stipulated time during various training workshops.
This game requires an unusual blend of logic, calculation and communication skill. Bridge also seems to cultivate a skill set which is particularly well-suited to computer programmers, financial traders and actuaries. There are many other advantages of introducing the Game of Bridge as a training tool for employees.
The top 5 of them are:
Ambiguity Acceptance Skill
Technically, bridge is a game of incomplete information. At any given time, a player can see a maximum of 26 cards and one set of cards is laid open on the table during play. Players have to be logical in guessing the cards in opponent’s hands. It also requires very good communication between partners as the chances of miscommunication are high when any sort of verbal and written communication is restricted. In corporate, one can train employees on how to deal with uncertain situations and sail through unknown territories.
Patience is the ability to tolerate delay, waiting or frustration without becoming agitated or disconcerted. It's the ability to be able to control your emotions or impulses when faced with difficulties. And in this world of 'instant everything' and wanting almost everything immediately, patience has become a much sort after virtue or talent which every employer look for in their employees. As the game requires guesstimating the cards in opponent’s hands, patience is harnessed and developed in players. When used or merged with a training tool, this game will help employees to develop patience when it comes to dealing with errant clients and notorious team members.
It is a super game of coordination. Continuous winning is only possible through a great teamwork and collaboration. There’s no choice but to collaboratively bid with the opponent in every round of the game. Players or employees will have to learn the value of collaboration for supporting their team members in various situations thereby linking a strong sense of achievement with belongingness and team work. And when such partnership works, the chemistry can be unforgettably fantastic.
Sharpens Cognitive Skills
Cognitive abilities are brain-based skills we need to carry out any task from the simplest to the most complex. Bridge grips you and helps to exercises your mind more efficiently. While preparing for the game, you get the opportunity to develop and refine your system as linguistic science. Playing bridge reflects intelligence. Not only this, it also increases concentration to a greater extent. Since the players need to remember the cards which are trump cards and other cards that are still in players’ hands, the overall concentration level of the players amplifies.
Employees in this digital world are always dependent on mobiles, computers and high tech gadgets for remembering simple tasks. Such an inexpensive game definitely helps in sharpening cognitive ability and enhances memory.
Because every hand is different, the intellectual challenge of bridge never ceases. And the best bridge players are the ones who can calculate swiftly and then communicate their counts accurately to partners.
Building Social Skills and Communication
And lastly, no matter where we go, we can always make new friends at the bridge table. In bridge, your glory days are always ahead of you and you may not be able to say the same for other games like tennis, hockey, football and baseball. Even at the age of 80, you can bond, socialize and communicate with your peers in bridge as you may tend to do when you have been younger. One can easily thrive on the global subculture of cerebral passionate card players from all walks of life.
The Game of Bridge develops a lot of abstract skills with wide application in real life. In China and US there are special training schools for bridge. In fact, in India there was once a time when many management students and engineering students too regularly used this game. Also, the game has quite a few sponsors in India, since several prominent businesspersons and CEOs play it regularly to high standards. But in recent times, the appeal has gradually subsided and there’s hardly any preemptive strategy to foster it for students as well as for corporate employees. Due to the shift from traditional games to digital games in this ttechnology-drivenworld, it is recommended not to wholly ignore the learning capability of such mind stimulating conventional games. Though there are some initiatives in the corporate world to blend this game in their Learning and Development strategy, however it will take more creative effort to take it towards the right direction in days to come.