How much do online leadership and corporate leadership have in common?

Think you need expensive MBAs to rise to the top of one of the world's biggest businesses? Don't tell Starbucks CIO Stephen Gillett.

Gillett does actually have an MBA (from San Francisco State, as it happens), but according to a report in Forbes, one expert credits Gillett's time as a guild leader in leading massively-multiplayer online game World of Warcraft for his "meteoric rise."

According to Gillett's former boss John Hagel III, speaking at a leadership conference, successful guild leaders need "a high degree of influence...you have to be able to influence and persuade people--not order them to do things. Ordering people in most of these guilds doesn't get you far."

Running a guild on an online game is basically like running a large, active club in "real life". It won't be long before these kinds of online activities become more prominent on resumes outside the pure software industry.

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