What Game of Thrones Can Teach Us As Entrepreneurs
Like millions of others, I was glued to my seat during the season finale of Game of Thrones. While I don’t want to ruin the suspense and surprise for anyone who hasn’t seen it yet (I’ll leave that to the rest of the blogosphere and social media realms), I came across an article the day after that had an interesting take on the show in general. Written by a hedge fund manager from New York, the article was an interesting breakdown of how elements of the plot of Game of Thrones relate directly to his daily life in the cutthroat financial sector of Manhattan.
Naturally, this got me thinking about how elements of the popular fantasy show could also relate to us in the entrepreneurial field. New ventures are constantly experiencing the kind of setbacks, turmoil, and corporate gamesmanship that feature prominently in every episode of Game of Thrones. Let’s take a look at some of the most prominent personality traits highlighted in the show, and how they relate back to our lives as entrepreneurs:
6 Lessons for Entrepreneurs from the Game of Thrones
- Honor Will Only Get You So Far – Of course, every one of us aspires to run his or her business in the most morally acceptable way possible. But it is naïve to think that our competitors and rivals are thinking about their businesses the same way. Sure, there are plenty of benevolent business owners out there. But remembering that your rivals and competitors are willing to dip to low depths to subvert your idea and its success is a crucial element to the entrepreneurial game. Strive to run your business morally and acceptably, of course, but also remain aware of the ways others may seek to backstab or undercut your plans and strategies.
- Identify Your Allies, And Your Enemies – Running a new venture successfully is directly tied to management’s ability to identify threats, both immediate and in the future (this is why we routinely present SWOT analysis on new businesses). Aside from this, understanding who you can rely on (supporting businesses, trusted colleagues or investors) and who you can’t (people with questionable motives toward your business) is essential to ensuring your business grows fruitfully. Make sure to pick apart overtures from potential rivals, and understand how your allies in business can be used to support your own venture.
- Guard Your Plans Closely – Some of the most effective survivors in the Game of Thrones universe are those who keep both their motives and their intentions closely guarded. With so many people looking to advance at the cost of others, much as we see in our own ventures, keeping your business plans and future strategies under wraps is essential to ensuring you can implement them the way you’d like. Letting too many untrustworthy extras in on the future of your business is an easy way to sabotage your growth and market capital before even competing in your chosen field.
- Remain Ambitious – Whether or not you are feeling particularly ambitious about expanding your business venture, rest assured that others are eyeing the same opportunity. With the advent of next generation communication technologies and mobile devices, any potential venture stands open to the entire world as a formidable opportunity. A good entrepreneur must remain focused on growing and adapting their business, even after achieving great levels of success. Don’t make the mistake of the Starks – achieving short-term success should never be an excuse for letting your business plan stagnate, or for not continuing to plan towards future threats, both imminent and perceived.
- Trust Your Advisors, and Your Instincts – One of the most common mistakes made by the many characters in the Game of Thrones universe continues to be ignorance of foreboding feelings or warnings. Many times (again, look at the Stark family) failure to heed cautious and thoughtful advice from trusted advisors can lead to disastrous and many times unforeseen consequences for your personal venture. Surround yourself with a powerful and effective brain trust, one that not only helps flesh out your own ideas and visions for the path of the venture, but that also challenges your ideas to ensure you are considering all potential angles and risks.
- Threats Can Arise When You Least Expect Them – Perhaps no element of the Game of Thrones universe rings more true than this simple tenet. Along with the aforementioned warning not to let your business settle into neutral, remembering that threats can come in many forms is an essential trait for the successful entrepreneur. Remain cautious of new rivals and new adaptations in the market that could directly or subtly affect your plans for future business growth.
Lessons From Our Friends in Westeros
Sure, a fantasy television show based on a series of novels seems like a strange place to turn for lessons we can apply to our own business ventures. But when you analyze the lessons learned and taught by the characters of Game of Thrones, the parallels to the business world are numerous and impossible to overlook. These six traits are just some of the essential characteristics of a successful entrepreneur, but the next time you sit down to watch an episode, keep your eyes peeled for others.
If there is anything we can conclude definitively from watching Game of Thrones through the eyes of an entrepreneur, it is this: the business world is no place for happy endings and easy solutions. More likely than not, you will experience issues with trust, subversive actions, and intimidating odds much like the heroes of Game of Thrones. Tackling these challenges as successfully as some of the characters of the show can help lead your business to new heights and potential growth.
Go cash in on today,