Why Running A Business is Like “The Walking Dead”
Why Running A Business is Like “The Walking Dead”
I’m not one for watching TV much, and I am certainly not the type of person that watches horror films, so how on earth did I end up watching The Walking Dead and the Zombie apocalypse? Well, it’s a funny story.
In October 2016, my best friend and I traveled to Spain to walk the Camino. Julie (my bestie) has a fear of flying, so her plan was to listen to Eminem and watch The Walking Dead as she knew this would distract her, especially during take off. The Eminem album was just not cutting it as we sat on the runway ready for take-off. She grabbed my hand and said “Will you watch The Walking Dead with me?, it’s not about zombies, it’s about people” – I was beginning to lose feeling in my right hand as her grip was so hard, so I plugged myself into the earphone splitter that she was carrying and watched episode 1. I was hooked!
When I returned from holiday I binge watched every single episode until I was caught up. I not only find the whole story of how people can work together to achieve their goals fascinating but also how people can destroy each other when they are in the wrong company. It made me realize that there are so many hidden meanings in TWD that I am now watching the re-runs again. Listed below are my findings, as to how the Walking Dead is very similar to running a business.
Make Enough Noise and They Will Come
It dawned on me that drawing attention to a new project or an idea only works if you make enough noise about it. In the same way as the herd turned and came after Alexandria when the horn went off, or the way that the group needed to knock on a door to clear a building as noise attracts zombies. If you have an idea or a new project that you are launching then no-one will come and buy it if you don’t make any noise!
Don’t Micromanage, embrace talent
There is a real difference between being a boss and being a leader. Rick (the leader), constantly listens to his team. He trusts them, digests their words and then makes a decision. The group is stronger because of this, and no-one is afraid to voice their thoughts. This is how they have survived. It certainly made me think about my team, especially the freelancers that work with us. When I started thinking about this, I also realized that people do things “their way”. If that works and it is not affecting anyone else, then why should we make them change. Look at the way Morgan uses his new talent to kill the zombies, you don’t always need a knife or a gun. But this style would not work for everyone. I realize that I can manage my business this way at times. I find something that works well for me and I have often pushed the process onto my team, without really thinking it through. I once made everyone listen to “Focus at Will” in the office because it worked well for me. Little did I know that it was having the opposite effect with some of the other members of the team. It was annoying the hell out of them! Lesson learned.
We all have times in our business when we feel like giving up. Our back is against the wall, our competitors seem like they have the edge, or we have a big debtor who has just announced that they have gone into receivership. In the same way as TWD, you should never give up. Don’t let it eat you alive! Come back fighting and you and your team will be stronger for it.
Use Your Resources Wisely
Daryl uses a crossbow and always collects his arrows once he has shot a zombie (or a person!). They use bullets sparingly (most of the time), and they have someone to control their stock and assets (Olivia in the pantry). When was the last time you had a look at your expenditure? Do you spend your resources wisely? It’s all about being clever and not just about money. For example, do you regurgitate your blog articles? If you have spent time writing an article for your website and then sent it out to social media channels, is that the end of it? Or are you like Daryl, and grab the arrow so that it is ready for re-shooting another day?
Invest in Training Your Team
We all know that to survive in TWD you need to learn how to shoot or use a knife to kill zombies, so training sessions take place. To survive the Zombie apocalypse you also need to learn how to track wild animals or plant vegetables. The same is for business. If you want to grow your business then you need to continually learn new skills to move your business forward, in addition to investing in your team. When was the last time you watched a webinar or went to a seminar/workshop to learn a new skill that would improve your business? What was the last business book that you read? When was the last time you sent your staff on a training day or even invested your own time to enhance your team’s skills?
Don’t be consumed with your competitors
One of the best seasons in TWD for me was “The Governor” episodes. (Season 4?). During this season The Governor was completely obsessed with getting his own back on Rick and his group until he ended up being dead and taking people down with him. One of my ex-clients was very similar in his obsession with his biggest competitor. Whatever his competitor did, then he would follow and try and do it bigger and better. Know thy enemy, yes, but don’t overdo it in a quest to crush thy enemy. If you are spending time watching what other people are doing then you are not spending your valuable time leading your organization to success. How much time are you spending looking at their website and social media pages? How much are you learning from this exercise, or could you time be spent more wisely elsewhere doing other activities?
Try to avoid hiring a Merle
We have all been there and hired the wrong person. I am the first one to put my hand in the air to say that I have hired many people the past and a few have been toxic within my business. They may come across as being trustworthy, but in your heart of hearts, you know that they have a bad soul. If you have a Merle in your business then made the decision fast and deal with it, before others become infected.
In conclusion, running a business is hard work. If you work as a team, support your group, get rid of dead wood and lead by example then your business will continue to grow organically.
Don’t let your business turn into a zombie!