5 lessons from "Star Wars" that can change the strategies and tactics of beginning managers - TechCrunch

5 lessons from “Star Wars” that can change the strategies and tactics of beginning managers – TechCrunch

“I feel bad about it” are, in fact, words to live by

As a leader The Jedi Council in the “Star Wars” universe was Yoda, in essence, their CEO.

His task was to see the future, a talent specially honed by visionary war monks, and yet he constantly allowed his vision to be obscured by the dark side of the Force. Despite his strength, experience, authority, and wisdom, Yoda was shockingly wrong at understanding what was happening around him until it was too late.

For a decade, the Jedi Grandmaster worked directly with the Dark Lord of the Sith, Darth Sidious, who hid under Yoda’s nose as the highest chancellor of the Galactic Republic. Yoda’s inability to recognize the changes that were taking place resulted in the rise of Palpatine’s empire and a reworking of the way of life of the whole culture.

When Yoda faced confusing facts and suspicious clues, what did he do? He retreated to his chambers to meditate, but took no action.

Yes, Yoda got it Kodaked.

Unfortunately, this is far too common among the management of existing corporations. Many executives act as if they believe the good times will never end, or as if they don’t care if they end.

Whether it’s Kodak’s CEO rejecting digital photography or Blockbuster’s CEO infamous of Netflix’s threat, there seems to be another market leader who blissfully ignores the wind of change.

“I feel bad about it” are words that leaders should follow because a joke shows awareness and proactivity.

Unlike Yoda, Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi combined insight and action to maintain hope for the future.

Seeing the future is also the goal of startup founders, corporate leaders and venture capitalists. With that in mind, here are five lessons from Obi-Wan Kenobi’s heroic deeds and how corporate and novice managers can use these ideas to devise transformation strategies and tactics:

Find the trouble by collecting street-level data before it starts

When the Sith criticize the Jedi for arrogance, their argument is justified because the Jedi leader Yoda is not in contact. The Jedi Council sits in a literal ivory tower and sends Obi-Wan Kenobi on a mission. As one of the best Jedi agents in the field, he is able to gather information that helps to understand what is happening throughout the country.

It is Kenobi who first learns during the Clone Wars that Darth Tyranus is in fact Count Dooku, and continues to draw threads from every trace he finds, always trying to learn more. Similarly, it is Kenobi who travels to Kamino in Episode II to uncover the mystery of the clone army.

The lesson for innovators is that you cannot meditate on your path to organizational change. The “Star Wars” chorus “I have a bad feeling” could be the same as Intel’s co-founder Andy Grove, “Only Paranoids Will Survive.”

Grove’s definition of paranoia can be interpreted as important in all circumstances. This means being dissatisfied with the lack of clarity and researching to get “street” information about the markets, customers and capabilities of everyone else.

At a practical level, street-level data means that corporations should face many potentially disruptive startups, and startups should face potentially complementary or competing companies. Everyone should meet as many customers and potential customers as possible.

Be brave and determined

Obi-Wan tracks down General Grievous on Utapau in episode III. While the leader of the separatist cyborgs has killed dozens of Jedi, Kenobi realizes that he must risk facing Grievous. He jumps from above in the middle of dozens of enemy droids and releases a line that has become a memo fodder: “Hello, there”.

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