5 lessons from ‘Star Wars’ that can transform startup managers’ strategies and tactics – TechCrunch

“I have a bad feeling about this” are actually words to live by

As leader of Jedi Council in the “Star Wars” universe, Yoda was essentially their CEO.

It was his job to see the future, a talent specially honed by the visionary warrior monks, yet he consistently allowed his vision to be clouded by the dark side of the Force. Despite his strength, experience, authority, and wisdom, Yoda was shockingly poor at understanding what was going on around him until it was too late.

Over a period of a decade, the Jedi Grand Master worked directly with the Dark Lord of the Sith, Darth Sidious, who was hiding right under Yoda’s nose as Supreme Chancellor of the Galactic Republic. Yoda’s failure to recognize changes as they occurred led to the rise of Palpatine’s empire and the overhaul of an entire culture’s way of life.

What did Yoda do when confronted with confusing facts and suspicious leads? He retired to his chambers to meditate, but did nothing.

Yes, Yoda has encoded.

Unfortunately, this is all too common in the leadership of established companies. Many leaders act like they believe good times never end, or don’t care if they do.

Whether the example is the CEO of Kodak dismissing digital photography or the CEO of Blockbuster infamously downplaying the threat of Netflix, it seems there’s always another leader happily ignoring the winds of change.

“I have a bad feeling about this” are words that managers should live by, because the joke shows awareness and initiative.

Unlike Yoda, Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi combined insight and action to keep 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 exploits and how corporate and startup leaders can apply those ideas to develop transformational strategies and tactics:

Find problems before they start by collecting street-level data

When the Sith criticize the Jedi for arrogance, their argument is justified because the Jedi leader, Yoda, is out of touch. The Jedi Council literally sits in an ivory tower and sends Obi-Wan Kenobi on missions. As one of the top Jedi field agents, he is able to gather first-hand information to understand what is going on in the Republic. It is Kenobi who first learns during the Clone Wars that Darth Tyranus is in fact Count Dooku, and he continues to pull the strings of every clue he finds, always looking for more. Likewise, it is Kenobi who travels to Kamino in Episode II to solve the mystery of the clone army.

The lesson for innovators is that you cannot meditate your path to organizational change. The “Star Wars” refrain “I got a bad feeling about this” could be equated with “Only the Paranoid Survive” by Intel co-founder Andy Grove. Grove’s definition of paranoia can be interpreted to mean that it’s important to be alert at all times. This implies not settling for a lack of clarity and doing research to get ‘street level’ information about markets, customers and the state of everyone else’s skills.

On a practical level, street level data means that companies should meet many potentially disruptive startups and startups should meet with potentially complementary or competing companies. Everyone should meet as many customers and prospects as possible.

Be brave and determined

Obi-Wan tracks down General Grievous on Utapau in Episode III. While the Separatist cyborg leader has killed dozens of Jedi, the vastly outnumbered Kenobi realizes he must take the risk of confronting Grievous. Leaping from above amidst dozens of enemy droids, he delivers a line that has become meme fodder: “Hello there.”

5 lessons from ‘Star Wars’ that can transform startup managers’ strategies and tactics – TechCrunch Source link 5 lessons from ‘Star Wars’ that can transform startup managers’ strategies and tactics – TechCrunch

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