Having obsessively watched Game of thrones over the last few years and especially the current season , I cant help but draw parallels between real life scenarios and the masterpiece that George R R Martin wrote. From economics to political science and a heavy dose of Sales and negotiation techniques , I think Game of thrones is the best MBA course one could come across.
1 . A Lesson in economics : The association between Tyrells and Lannisters
Wars are expensive to fight , and its equally expensive to continually maintain peace as well . So what does Cersei lannister do ? Simply put marry her son to Marjory tyrell whose family is filthy rich . Oh and stops paying the Iron Bank , which is sort of like World bank and IMF all in one. Although stopping payment to the Iron bank may have been a very bad decision since they moved their allegiance to Stannis Baratheon after that, but that’s the case for another post. So what lesson does an entrepreneur derive from this ? Very simple , Keep your finances straight and have alliances which can bail you out if push comes to shove. Also before you wage an expensive war or in this case a research and development project , or a marketing campaign , or any other exercise which does not have the potential to generate revenue in the near future , Definitely stop and think twice .
Key Learning : Know the basic principles of economics. The banks have overdraft but they will eventually take their money back.
2. Be adaptable . Sometimes you may have to course correct . Its better to have delayed project than a failed one.
If all the women from Arya and Sansa to Marjory tyrell and Cersei Lannister to the biggest heroine of them all Danerys Targareyn has taught me something , its adaptability. Keep your head down , go with the flow and don’t lose sight of your goal. Look at all of these characters , and the one common thing that emerges from all of their stories is that , they have gone through enough Shit , have been knocked down more than a couple of times , but nothing could steer them from their eventual journey. Similarly , if as an entrepreneur , you are sure of an idea , but think the market , is not ready , give it some time . Be adaptable . Focus yourself on delivering solutions which will work now and keep you afloat today. If and only if you survive today , you will be able to get to your plan tomorrow.
Key learning : Adapt . Adapt . adapt !
3. No way you can substitute your core skill set . Be awesome and keep practicing ! Remember Syrio Forel ? Arya’s teacher for sword fighting from season one . Despite of all that you face , there will never be a place in this world for mediocrity , so don’t forget to practice. There never was and never will be a substitute for hard work. From Jon Snow to Jamie Lannister they keep practicing. So remember as an entrepreneur , never lose touch with what’s happening on the shop floor . From coding to manufacturing this applies to all the trades . Sometimes one gets so busy with the mundane everyday stuff , that the larger objective either get pushed or you lose sight. A man must always stay focused ( In my best Jaqen H’ghar impression).
Key Learning : Practice your craft and be kickass
4. Keep your friends close and Enemies under a close watch
From the unlikely friendship between Jamie Lannister and Brienne of Tarth to the one that Jon Snow had with Samwell , one finds supporters and forms alliances at the unlikeliest of quarters. Never pass up on this opportunity to learn and collaborate. Also it sometimes helps to have allegiances . You never would know when you will need to call upon these supporters , friends and alliances to take down a Bolton . Or maybe in real world you may have to bid for a large project , form a consortium and aim for larger objectives. Now to the second part of the statement , Its good if you have these friendships but always keep watch over your competitors , and I don’t mean that you indulge in corporate espionage or have “little birds” but keep your eyes and ears open and track news on social media and pay very close attention to new product development news . Remember Zune ? No ? Well I don’t blame you ! It was Microsoft’s answer to Apple IPod . It never took off , because Microsoft kept playing catch up , while apple kept raising the bar . Don’t be the one at the second place.
Key learning : Even with three dragons , Danerys needed an army . So will you when the time comes.
5. Be a great negotiator . You never know what you may have to sweet talk your way out of !
Remember Tyrion lannister . From the beginning of the series he has been kidnapped , accused of hurting a Stark and killing a King , been on the run , kidnapped again , but surprisingly now you find him in Mereen actually running the city , while the queen is away. So how did he manage to achieve all this ? By being a smooth talker . There is no situation that you cant get out of If you keep your wits about it . From regular team meetings to vendors and investors , its very important to be on top of your negotiation game , because sadly nowadays its not even legal to keep a hostage in times of siege.
Key learning : Keep your temper in check and always practice negotiation.
Lastly none of the above advice is applicable if you Dragons !!! oh yes please .. In that case can I please borrow one . I have a few people I would like to roast!!