6 Business Lessons I Learned From the Walking Dead
There are days when I just can’t get my entrepreneurial act together. These are the days where Netflix or my DVD player come in handy. Often I will have something playing in the background while I “try” to concentrate on work. But, as in everything we do, there is always learning to be had if we look for it. So here are some of the business lessons I’ve learned from watching The Walking Dead.
1. Don’t spend all your time fighting the zombies.
In season 3, the main protagonist Rick and his gang of zombie fighters were holed up in a prison.
Although it was vital that they kept the prison safe, it was also important that they made plans for their future.
Running a business can sometimes feel a bit like being holed up in a prison hiding from zombies – we have to spend time protecting ourselves, but if we spend all our time fighting fires (or the undead), we will never achieve anything other than staying put. We need to have an end goal in mind, be it an income level or world domination. We must make a plan and stick to it, otherwise we’ll be stuck in that prison for ever and one day we’ll run out of food.
2. Never say die
Whilst still at the prison, one of the characters, Hershel gets attacked and bitten on the ankle by a zombie. In a knee-jerk reaction and having no idea if it will be a success, Rick amputates Hershel’s lower leg. Thankfully Hershel makes a full recovery and becomes a valuable and highly respected member of the team.
So the lesson here is… if we get bitten, hack off that leg and keep going. Life and zombies can always take us by surprise and we must have a level of resilience, particularly when we run our own business. The odds can often be against us and we need to have the vision to look at every possibility and decide on the best path forward. Becoming a successful entrepreneur is a journey fraught with roadblocks and detours, feasts or famines, laughter and tears and sometimes we can feel just plain beaten. But with the right support, some courage and a lot of strength, we can survive.
3. If you have a crossbow, use it!
Michonne, a fearless warrior who arrives at the prison is a dab hand with a katana. She wields her weapon with a skill and precision that is envious. In similar circumstances, you may wish you had a katana like Michonne, but if all you have is a crossbow, you’d better learn to adapt, and fast.
We often do not have all of the skills and abilities we need to run a business, but we must either learn to do new things, or have someone in our gang with the skills we need. There are many business books (see Andrew Griffiths) and courses that are available where we can learn the tools of the trade. We must learn, we must grow, we must adapt!
4. Zombies are silent, but deadly.
Pay attention to what’s going on! Problems can creep up on us if we’re not looking around at our surroundings. Whilst it can feel safe to hide in a cave, oblivious to the goings on of the outside world, if we’re not keeping up to date with developments, we can suddenly find ourselves trapped with no way out.
As an entrepreneur it is not enough to simply focus on what we are doing, we must look outwards and see the bigger picture. Notice what the competition is doing, keep up to date on technological advances that affect your business and be aware of the zombies.
5. Be a leader, even if it scares you to death!
As the protagonist Rick discovers, being a leader can totally suck – it demands tough decision making, an ability to adapt where necessary and the need to step up even when feeling exhausted and overwhelmed.
A true leader will be able to do even the toughest of jobs, be it raiding a store full of “walkers” or firing a supplier that is not performing consistently.
6. Don’t follow the crowd – it’s likely to be a herd
Throughout the show, the close-knit group realised that they had to set their own path to have control over what they did and where they went. A number of times they followed what others were doing and always came to regret this decision.
If everyone is going in the same direction, it’s likely to be a place you don’t want to go. Joining the herd may feel like the safest thing to do, but in reality it may just lead you to a “dead” place (see what I did there?). Successful businesses need new ideas, energy, passion and the ability to carve out a new path, something you won’t do if you are following what everyone else is doing.
Do you watch this show? If so, what have you learned about business from it? If not, what is your favourite TV show and what have you learned from it? I’d love to know.
“The opinions expressed by Smallville Contributors are their own, not those of www.smallville.com.au"
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