Business Lessons From Game of Thrones

Date posted: April 4, 2013

Are you obsessed with the HBO series Game of Thrones? Season 3 just started up last weekend. If you’re getting ready to watch Sunday night’s episode (or bingeing on Season 2 DVDs), justify your TV-watching by checking out these articles that share small business lessons you can learn from Game of Thrones. (Warning: Some posts contain spoilers.)

Go big or go home: “When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground.” This quote from Queen Cersei Lannister sums up the essence of the series. Those who share her aspirations to ultimate power would do well to take it to heart. If your goal is to succeed in the ruthless world of business, then you must commit totally.

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Business communications: One thing about an epic fantasy series is that it sustains an extremely active online community. Message boards are devoted to dissecting the characters, their motivations and what might happen next. I especially enjoy the posts that evaluate the strategies of the various players in the game. Sometimes it’s easier to think strategically when we place ourselves in a different world without all of the usual barriers and naysayers. We can learn a lot from the Game of Thrones – even about strategic business communications.

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Break your promises carefully. What can today’s manager learn from feuding fantasy clans? Quite a lot, actually. Determine which promises you can’t afford to break. In a chaotic world, promises matter. Just ask Jaime “Kingslayer” Lannister, the guy with the worst exit interview in Westeros. After swearing an oath to protect the last Targaryen king, Jaime stabbed his employer in the back. Literally. Granted, that particular CEO was a maniac who set people on fire. But once a reputation for honesty is tainted, there’s no going back.

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