Lessons from Talent is Overrated: Welch’s 4 E’s

I’ve been reading a great book called Talent is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else. I’ve learned a lot of great lessons and many of the stories are some I’ve found to be inspiring to me online and in the real world. Hopefully you’ll feel the same way.

Former CEO of General Electric, Jack Welch, had a set of criteria he would use when looking at prospective employees to promote into the upper levels of management. It’s called the 4 E’s! Let’s see if we can take them and apply them to players looking to break into the demanding responsibilities of raid leadership. These are all general (and well rounded) traits that Welch would key in on.


Self-motivated and driven. These are players who aren’t tired (or don’t give off that impression). They want to do something. It doesn’t matter if it’s the first hour of raiding, or the 4th or 12th hour. Their level of energy remains high, focused, and committed. They’re always eager to get going and try something new when strategies don’t work.

Ability to energize

Having someone who can not only motivate themselves but the others around them is a huge benefit. These are players who don’t need a spark to get the raid going. They are the spark that helps to ignite other players. It’s this up tempo attitude that separates okay raid leaders from great ones. This is a trait that doesn’t have to be limited to leaders either. It could very well be anyone.


(It means decisiveness, but a word was needed that started with the letter e)

Whether you are right or wrong isn’t as important as making the decision in a timely manner. Ideally you want to be right (or have positive results) more often than not. I personally cannot stand indecisiveness. That’s why I’m not a big fan of “co-gm” or democratic guilds. I don’t like standing around waiting 10 minutes for a raid leader to decide Abom wing or Military wing. Loot’s a different matter entirely. But for other raid-to-raid decisions on progression content like who’s tanking what, which boss to do, what strat to try, who sheeps what, and all that, it’s better to just pick a name and get it done. This becomes especially true in make or wipe situations when picking which Druid should battle res, for example.


This is also known as the follow through. Can you deliver? That’s all there is to it. The ability to execute is a broad look at all the players involved. Sure you’ve topped the healing charts. Every incoming add is CC’d or destroyed. Your tank miraculously survives 3 seconds past an enrage timer. But the raid boss or encounter must be beaten for all of that to matter. You can say all the right things. You can do all the right things. Yet at the end of the day, you’re going to be evaluated by your guild on the coordination and objectives achieved.

The Delicate Art of Delegation

Last night, I wrote a heartfelt post detailing my trials and hardships in the captaining of Conquest. While I believe the crew is just as (if not more) important than the captain, all executive decisions regarding which way the ship is going rests on his shoulders. I’ve been in guilds where there were co-GMs are multiple leaders. It resulted in a lot of indecision and little progress. That being said, if there comes a time where a significant choice needs to be made, what I’ll end up doing is gathering up my senior staff. I’ll give them some time to illustrate their case for or against. I’ll let them talk it out while I listen and deliberate. But once the time is up, a choice has to be made.

Learned about that from Tom Clancy’s Executive Orders (Jack Ryan). Great book, by the way. I’ve always loved military thrillers.

I noticed a trend that emerged in the majority of the comments.

Joveta says:

“You probably -shouldn’t- be Healing Lead on top of everything else you’re doing. Delegate delegate delegate!”

GoW says:

“please, use your Officers as much as you can.”

Starman says:

“What I found is that having a really good 2nd in Command that you can split the pre setup check list with helps a TON.”

Tatiana says:

“Use your officers. Delegate. You do not have to carry the entire load.”

Lakland says:

“Also- delegate, delegate, delegate! You are raiding with (some) very competent folks. My guess is more than one or three of them has the capabilities to raid lead themselves. Take advantage of their skills and step back – captain the ship.”

Now how exactly does one go about doing that? I can’t simply just ask a person to do something. I don’t know if they’ll even like it or more importantly, want to. I don’t want people to chop wood for me or to cut and shape sails. I want them to yearn for the open seas.

Self motivation is the way to go.

But I do need to have clear cut positions and roles. I’ll see to it that every major position can be fulfilled by 2 people in case 1 person won’t be around.

Let’s use corporate analogy. I’m running out of sailor ones. Not everyone here is technically listed as an officer. But their roles are important, all the same.

Position: CEO

Purpose: Makes guild level decisions in regards to guild directions and objectives. Responsible for day to day affairs and overall raid strategy. Plans raid schedules. Oversees preliminary raid preparation and post raid activities. Serves on the board of loot directors.

Position: CFO, Human Resources, Director of Restorative Operations

Purpose: Handles matters pertaining to personnel and guild applicants. Oversees guild finances and resources. Quarterbacks the healers. Serves on the board of loot directors.

Position: Director of Strategic Operations

Purpose: Contributes strategy and tactical approaches to bosses. Also acts as DPS quality assurance. Raid disciplinarian. Quarterbacks the DPS. Heroism caller.

Assuming he stays up longer than 14 seconds against an undercard.

Position: Lootmaster

Purpose: Ensures all things shiny go to the proper players. Handles the looting of greens, blues and epics. Serves on the board of loot directors. Battle res organizer (assuming the CEO or Director authorizes the use of a Battle res in an attempt, more on this in a future post).

Position: Tank

Purpose: Sets the overall pace and speed of the raid. Has been granted full autonomy and discretion in terms of trash pulls. Knows when to pull and when to hold.

Position: Tank and Technical Director

Purpose: Handles any unforeseen or unexpected trash mobs. Oversees the guild technical infrastructure which includes the guild website and forums.

With that, I do believe that just about summarizes my staff. I have no doubt that as time goes on, some of their roles will begin to mesh and evolve. Perhaps new problems will occur and solutions will be needed. That does not necessarily mean I have to overthink it or issue out another promotion. I think I’ve got a great team here with their roles properly outlined.

As an aside, it’s course selection time. I wonder if I would benefit from a business management course.

Probably not.

8 Great Rules to Follow for Forming Your Pickup Raid

With the release of 2.4, I’ve taken the opportunity to organize Magtheridon and Gruul’s raids (with Dager’s help, since he’s the best pally on Ner’Zhul). For the most part, they are considered pickup raids in the fact that they do not consist entirely of my guild. Rather, we go through an exhaustive step-by-step process in order to filter out players and ensure loot fairness as much as possible. In today’s post, I want to highlight what was done in Mag’s encounter from start to finish for players who wanted to set up their own polished and successful pickup raids.

So why Mag?

Personally, I like to refer to him as Bagtheridon. In addition to 3 set tokens, he drops 3 badges, a 20 slot bag, and a bag filled with epic and blue gems. My motive for going in there was getting a 20 slot bag along with an epic gem. Other than badges, it’s the only early way for guilds to get gems unless they go take cracks at Hyjal or Black Temple.

"Before anything else, preparation is the key to success."
Alexandar Graham Bell

Set a time in advance

First, pick a time and day that will not conflict with your official raid. We don’t officially raid anything on Saturday and I know that we have players in the Eastern Time Zone. In my case, I picked a time of 4:00 PM on Saturday. This allowed ample time for people to run any errands they had before hand and allowed them to risk not losing the rest of their evening. I made a point of mentioning every day that I was organizing a Mag’s lair run on Saturday so that my Guildmates would know.

Handpick your players first

When you’re selecting the players to form the raid, want to ideally choose the players that you have raided with in the past or know by reputation due to their Guild. I started out initially with Carnage players. Many of them have alts that I knew would be interested in getting gear from Mag. Once I filled it out with players from my Guild, I started turning outward to players that I know. In this case, I alerted both Dager (Blue Moon) and Agrona (Fallen Heroes) that I was organizing a Mag run and asked if they were either interested or had players in their guild interested in going. I was able to cobble together an effective raid using no more than 3 guilds. In a fight like Mag, you’ll want a composition along the lines of:

  • 4 tanks
  • 8 healers
  • 2 rogues
  • 2-3 warlocks
  • assorted DPS

Again, adjust your raid group as needed.

Prioritize your positions

In an encounter like Mag, there’s a minimum number of tanks and healers that you need in order to successfully complete the encounter. I wanted at least 4 tanks since I knew Dager would be able to handle 2 of the initial ads (Prot. Paladin). For healers, I wanted to be conservative and take 8. Make sure you leave those slots reserved for those roles. The worse thing that can happen is where you have to ask a player to leave because you need a healer instead.

Start invites early

Even though I scheduled the raid for 4 PM, I started forming the raid at 330 PM. Because like life, you cannot control all the variables and it is better to err on the side of being early then being late. Forming a pickup raid is not quite the same as forming a guild raid. You never know which players might have to leave early or cannot commit. Our Mag raid didn’t begin until 430 PM. Yes, it took us an hour to form the raid and get everyone here. To be fair, I was munching on food and delegated some quick tasks to my assistants since we were missing a few more players.

Macro assignments

If it’s important, macro it. You don’t know what kind of players you are getting. You don’t know if they’re actually listening on vent or not. You just don’t know them. If it’s important to the success of your raid, macro it for easy repeating.

Some things to consider macro’ing:

  • Vent server: randomventserver.nationvoice.com :: 10001 :: PW – worldofmatticus
  • Loot rules: This might take up 2 different macros depending on how extensive it is. But you will want this in your library of macros for easy repetition. See below.
  • Tanking assignments: Hold your tanks by the hand. Write down exactly what marked targets they’re supposed to get.
  • Healing assignments: Once your tanks know who to go after, make sure you set up healers for the appropriate tanks. It’s okay to double shift healers. I put myself on the 1st, 4th, and 5th ad tanks. I set up a Druid to look after the 3rd and 4th ad tanks.
  • Cube clickers: Very important to have – /rw TEAM CLICKERZ: KAYPASSA RYANDAN GHETTO FAVRE YEESH

Having macros in place allows you to answer questions with ease. Plus if something isn’t working properly, you can go back in and adjust it without having to rely on your memory. I know I can never remember which healer is on which tank unless I write it down.

Make your loot rules known in advance

A surefire way to tarnish your reputation is by mishandling loot or misinforming your raid group. By setting your loot rules in advance, then the raid can at least hold you accountable. If someone raises an issue at the end regarding loot, you can also say that loot rules were mentioned beforehand and by coming into the raid, they waive any rights to complain about loot after (but that’s the law student in me).

Here’s an example:

/rw Loot rules: 1 Item per player
/rw NEED: Primary spec 1st
/rw GREED: Off spec 2nd
/rw Mag’s head: Free roll
/rw =============
/rw If 2 or more of the same tokens drop, top rolls get it.
/rw BAG and GEMS gets randomed 1-25 according to Saph’s Window

I allow players to free roll Mag’s head as I don’t know who has done the quest before and who has not. Typically when going through the rolls, I call out the name and highest roll number on vent so people know who is highest. If someone else rolled higher, I’m hoping someone else in the raid can correct me. During rolls, I also initiate a countdown from 5 down to 1 followed by a cut off dash. Any rolls that come after the dash do not count. I will not accept late rolls because they have 5 seconds to look at the loot being offered and decide whether or not they want it. We don’t have all day to stand around for players to ask opinions of their Guildies and friends on whether or not they should roll for it.

With regards to the 2+ same token policy, I set it this way so that I don’t have to sort through rolls twice. On the other hand, you could make the case that this allows players with low rolls a second chance at getting the set item that they want but that has both it’s upsides and downsides.

The random 25 policy on bags and gems is there because I really don’t want to go through everyone’s rolls 5 different times. After the 20 slot bag is taken care of, the gems are next. They appear in a nice, green bag that you have to open and extract the gems from (I had 3 epic gems, and 2 blue gems).

1 item per player is there to minimize any possible accusations of favoritism. This means that at least 10 different players will walk away with some kind of loot.

Notice that the loot rules and policies here are designed to be as neutral and self-explanatory as possible in order to encourage repeat raiders. Since I plan on making this a weekly operation, it would be very stupid if I changed the loot rules in the last minute or set them in an unfair fashion. I might prioritize loot in the future, but it’s extremely important for me to be as fair and objective as possible when it comes to handling loot. The last thing I want to get is a bad reputation.

Make sure everyone stays during loot

We did Gruul’s lair right afterwards and right after Gruul dropped, we had a Defender token drop. A portal was immediately established for those that didn’t need any loot so that they could get out. The Priest who won decided to pass in favour of giving it to one of the tanks who also rolled. That tank in turn wanted to pass to a different Priest who might have benefited from it.

It was a noble act that the players did in order to pass the loot to the undergeared players. But the 3 players that did roll took the portal out! As a result I could not loot it to them! This indecision resulted in the token going to someone else who had no interest in the piece and did not even roll.

So, for you players that have any interest in attending pug runs, here some quick lessons for you:

  1. Don’t ever leave until all of the loot gets handed out. You never know when a better geared player will pass the item to you.
  2. Either want something or don’t. Please don’t roll on an item and then pass afterwards.
  3. Roll before the line, not after it.

Know when to cut losses

Finally, establish a cut off point. Either pick a number of wipes or pick a time when you will call the raid. Pickup raids certainly aren’t worth the time or frustration of progression runs. A good number is calling it after 5 wipe or 90 minutes. It might be disappointing for sure, but realize that eventually you’re going to hear a chorus of "I gotta go!". Once that happens, the hunt for replacements is going to either take too long resulting in more people leaving or just not happen at all due to attrition and fatigue.

Oh, and if you’re wondering about the above image, yes Canadians do play volleyball during the winter.

Setting your Raid Schedule

In past guilds, we would set a day or four to raid. We would raid on those nights of the week until we accomplished our goal or until it was no longer practical to do so. I don’t know about you, but raiding with no end in sight does seem a bit demoralizing until you get a boss down. One of first policy acts a newly minted GM needs to do is to decide when their guild plans to raid.

Conquest raids from 6PM – 9 PM flat (Pacific). It doesn’t matter if we’re one shotting bosses or if we’re wiping like no tomorrow. It’s three hours in duration no matter what we do. With that in mind, it’s absolutely important for us to maximize our time in the raid instances. Some of you may set your raid times to end at 10 PM or 11 PM. But all too often, I’ve noticed on several pug raids that I’ve taken part in is that there are set start times, but end times are insanely flexible.

So consider setting a final, non-negotiable end time that everyone can look forward to.


It gives you and your raiding team a specific time to look forward to

Would you prefer a 9-5 job or a job where you would clock out whenever your boss says so? You might be wiping on trash or boss attempts, but at least you will know HOW MUCH LONGER it’s going to go on for. If you stare at the clock and notice that you have 30 minutes of raiding left, all of a sudden, you realize that you can actually endure one more wipe if necessary.

Everybody tries to get out of a raid

My dog ate my mouse.

My in laws are in town.

My exams are here.

What’s more, people give these excuses in the middle of the raid because they don’t want to raid anymore. They’re looking for an easy way out. It’s all human psychology. They come up with a BS excuse that may or may not be right with the intent of getting out of the raid so they can do something else. By setting an end time, your raid mates can plan their life around it.

For example, knowing my raid ended at 9 PM allowed me to delay construction of my 1500 word essay on criticizing Lysistrata until after the raid. It allowed me to calculate that I could watch the NHL season openers on Wednesday and finish the paper which would have been due this morning.

Clearly this is a poor example of time management, but if I had not known when our raid would end, I would have missed out on watching the NHL season openers. That would have been deeply tragic.

Which days should I pick?

Tuesdays are server reset days.

Friday and Saturday nights often have people out doing other stuff (like parties or social events).

Sundays will have holidays throughout the year that players may miss out on.

The time of day will also matter. Make it too late and raiders that work won’t be able to join you. Make it too early and people might just be getting off work or class. Many of the guilds I’ve seen schedule their times between 7 PM to 11 PM. This gives everyone optimal time to eat dinner. The raid also ends early enough for everyone to get enough rest during the weekday.

Keep time zones in consideration. The hours between 5 PM to 9 PM are optimal for players on the west coast and east coast (North America, of course).

You can choose whatever days and times you’re comfortable with. Just make sure you tell everyone so no one gets confused!

How long?

Lastly, the amount of days spent raiding will also have a huge impact. Whether you’re aware of it or not, raiding three days a week versus two days a week can be far more draining. You might think to yourself ‘Oh its just an extra day’, but to some people it’s a lot more time for them to invest in. It’s also dependent on your raid’s ability to solve certain encounters. If you easily clear to Shade of Aran, but have a harder time cracking him below 80%, then chances are your raid isn’t ready to take him down yet. There is no sense in scheduling another day of four hour consecutive 80% Aran wipes. It demoralizes your team, it adds unneeded expenses, and your team won’t try hard at all because they know they can’t do it yet. It’s best to try the boss a few times, gauge the probability of success with your team before calling it and coming back when the week resets.

In the end, you know your raid team best.

If they’re willing to jump back in there and continue running into the brick wall, then do it. Perseverance helps. For the past two weeks, we’ve been getting Leotheras down to phase 3 where he is below 10% every attempt before our guild wipes. If that’s the same with you, then maybe coming back another night would be the right answer.

Having a refreshed raid is far more effective then a fatigued raid.

Know your Guild and what they’re capable of doing. Push them to the limit, but don’t tip them over the edge.