7 Things Game of Thrones Teaches You About Running Your Own Business
The last season of Game of Thrones is coming soon and it made me realise something.
The best stories teach us something.
But what does Game of Thrones teach us as entrepreneurs?
SPOILER WARNING: This post contains spoilers from Game of thrones season 1-7, as well as the books. If you have never seen GOT, go watch it now. I wish I could see it again for the first time.
Lesson 1: Family Can Be Your Worst Enemy
“I wish I had enough poison for the whole pack of you.”
- Tyrion Lannister
Let’s be honest, the House Lannister proves this point every other episode - raping, betraying and murdering each other.
In business, family can be unsupportive, distract you when you’re trying to work and give terrible feedback. So, although you may listen to their advice, they are not the right peeps to listen to when it comes to running your business.
Consider whose feedback is worth taking on board and choose carefully who you allow to have an opinion that impacts any decisions you make or what you do in your business.
Lesson 2: Strategic Partners Help You Win
“The Lannisters send their regards”
- Roose Bolton
Helping each other and strategic partnerships usually involves less bloodshed than the Red Wedding. They are incredibly helpful to get you ahead in your business and it’s always great to have someone fighting your corner.
Mastermind together, refer each other, and conquer a fort or two. They are like vassals that didn’t need to bend the knee; they are way more useful if they help you because they want to.
Lesson 3: drowning in work won’t kill you
“What is dead may never die, but rises again, harder and stronger.”
- Drowned Priest to Theon Greyjoy
The Greyjoys might be another crazy dysfunctional family, but their Drowned God has an important lesson for us. Even though at times (or maybe all the time!) you feel like you’re drowning, it won’t kill you.
Running your own business isn’t easy. It will have you drowning in tears at more than one point, but you’ll get through it, harder and stronger. Everything that happens in your business is part of the journey and part of the growth process - you just have to get through it and come out of the other side!
Lesson 4: Words are Wind, So Get It In Writing
“Men are men, vows are words, and words are wind.”
- George R. R. Martin
This nugget of wisdom is dropped a few times in the books. If you’ve ever dealt with a flaky, runaway or even nightmare clients, you know this is true.
However excited someone might say they are about working with you, things happen. So get a contract in place to protect both you, and your client from the very beginning of the relationship.
Lesson 5: Be ruthless in your dedication
“Joffrey, Cersei, Walder Frey, Meryn Trant, Tywin Lannister, The Red Woman, Beric Dondarion, The Thoros of Myr, Ilyn Payne, The Mountain. I can’t sleep until I say the names.”
- Arya Stark
Arya’s kill list might be a bit much for most entrepreneurs, but there is a lesson here. If you are dedicated to a few, well-defined goals, you are much more likely to meet them.
Most humans are terrible multi-taskers and we change our mind so often, we never reach most of our goals. Arya Stark teaches us to decide and commit. It’s one of the key ingredients of a successful business. Choose a couple of goes to focus on at one time and fully commit to achieving them. Then you can move on to the next ones.
Lesson 6: You can’t do it alone
"You're going to die tomorrow, Lord Bolton. Sleep well."
- Sansa Stark
All of us make terrible choices sometimes. Like Jon, charging an entire army alone, thereby falling for the trap Sansa (of all people!) warned him about. Yet she had a back-up plan on the way.
The lesson here? You need to hire great people and trust them to do their job. So when it’s time to face the insurmountable-looking issues and tasks ahead of you, you will have a back-up army, waiting to save your ass.
Lesson 7: You need House words
“Family, Duty, Honor”
- Words of House Tully
No one does branding like George R. R. Martin. “A Lannister always pays his debt” and that kind of talk. What does this mean for your business?
It means you need to identify the most important characteristics of your business and make sure your clients know about them. You need to put a stake in the ground and say “This is who we are” and then live up to the hype.
There’s no point in competing on price, since it’s a race to the bottom that will kill your profit margin. Instead you need to compete on values. What makes you special? Please don’t tell me it’s “Our Blades Are Sharp” unless you sell knives.