7 Business Lessons : Game of Thrones Style


Knowledge is often believed to come from education and autobiographies, while distraction finds a vent into one’s life through television….. Or something like that did all our mothers say, didn’t they? However, today, with almost everything finding digital presentation, one can hardly say that there isn’t enough to learn from series and telecasts on televisions.

One of the series that has recently been in talks because of the massive episode-leak of Season 5 is Game of Thrones – an adaptation of George R. R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire”. A show centred on the theme of power, it shrewdly incorporates love, anathema, drama, war, revenge, betrayal and death in the plot. While it sounds like a classic epic fantasy drama series, we have realised that there is so much that a viewer, especially an entrepreneur, can learn from it.  May we warn you, spoilers might appear in the course of the write up.

1) “A bruise is a lesson… and each lesson makes us better”

When you start a business, you are never guaranteed success. There is no escaping failure; you will fall, get hurt and bruise yourself – mostly your confidence and resolution – but in times like these, remember what Arya says, “a bruise is a lesson… and each lesson makes us better”. If you have fallen, then you have definitely erred, or you have missed something here or there. It’s now upon you to find out what went wrong, and to make sure that it never happens again.

2) “Everyone wants something. And when you know what a man wants you know who he is, and how to move him.”

We all want an ideal world set up, where everyone loves very other person around them and each and every element exists in perfect harmony with the other. The harsh reality of the business world, however, is that every company – small or big – has to stay in line with fierce competition. In this mad race, if you want to survive and surpass the others, it is absolutely necessary that you know your competitor(s). Once you know them, their objectives and goals and their means of getting there, capitalise on the information. Like Lord Baelish says, “..when you know what a man wants you know who he is and how to move him.” Yes, this isn’t the noblest advice to give, but we have to stay in tune with reality, don’t we?

3) “With freedom, comes loyalty”

When she hires an army of “The Unsullied”, the Khaleesi releases them from the slavery they have been living under all their lives. This makes them fight for her more loyally, out of respect than fear. When an entrepreneur, be a democratic one. Don’t thrust your ways of working on your employees; let them be, as long as they are meeting the targets. Every individual knows of their capabilities and how he/se can exploit them to the fullest. Let them work for themselves, so that they can work better for you. Liberty eliminated defection.

4) “Protect your strongest assets”

Daenerys Targaryen, in “Game of Thrones” has had an extremely rough start. She has spent the first two seasons as a cash-strapped entrepreneur, but as soon as she realises the worth of her biggest capital – her dragons – she goes to all lengths to protect it. This takes her a long way, and ultimately to success. Similarly, as an entrepreneur, it is essential that you realise what your biggest capital, strongest asset is. Protect and shield it from all blows, as far as possible. Use it as your ultimate trump card. If you play well and play smart, there is nothing that can keep you from winning the game.

5) “Being right is not enough”

The best standing example to this would be Ned Stark. He was righteous, kind, noble and held one of the darkest secret in the Seven Kingdoms, but he didn’t have the resources and timing to back it up. As an entrepreneur, you may have the best product and you might be one of the most honest businessmen of your time, but that – in today’s times – isn’t going to take you a long way. You need to learn to seize the right moment. You must master the “Art of Timing” flawlessly. Once you know when to launch some of the best products up your sleeve, half your battle’s won.

6) “Always pay your debts”

“A Lannister always pays his debts”, we know that by now, don’t we? The Lannisters are (arguably) the richest in the Seven Kingdoms, and even then are they so particular about putting the chip of debt off their shoulder. In a business house, one might not always feel the necessity to rid oneself of debts, but difficult situations pop up when they are least expected to, and a debt makes the entrepreneur compromise with flexibility.

7) “Sitting in a throne is a thousand times harder than winning one.”

The entire series revolves around the obsession that the seven kingdoms have of the Iron Throne. What only Robert Baratheon rightly points out, however, is “sitting in a throne is a thousand times harder than winning one.” An entrepreneur might battle his way through all hurdles and challenges and make it to the top – the Iron Throne, per say – but the real challenge lies in holding on to it. It is very difficult to be successful all the time. Therefore, you will have to fight harder to STAY successful than you did to BECOME successful.

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