Game of Thrones’ biggest strength as an epic television series is its scope – it contains an incredible amount of characters and storylines even despite its relatively short, five year run. The story line of Game of Thrones is full of challenges, crises, joy and pain, similar to what one will experience in a startup. It naturally follows that there are characters in the series that have exhibited strong leadership skills, competent in navigating the complex challenges and emotions that their situation presented them. Here are five lessons in leadership from Game of Thrones characters.
Robb Stark – Timing
Following the death of Robert Baratheon, a power void was left in Westeros. Despite his young age and relative inexperience, Robb Stark took advantage of the situation and declared himself King of the North. Unfortunately, that lack of experience proved to be his downfall. Like any good businessman would, Robb made his play just at the right time. Given the fickle nature of the market, taking actions at the right time could make the difference between success and failure for a startup.
Daenarys Targaryen – Vision
Daenerys has a vision of an Essos free from the shackles of slavery. In taking this idea to traditional slave cities such as Mereen, Yunkai and Astapor, the Khaleesi captures the attention of millions of residents and finds her place as the ruler of Mereen. The mother of dragons’ greatest quality here is her vision – she uses it to stoke belief in the hearts of her followers. A strong, clear vision is essential to startups. Moreover, they must be able to express it and sell it in a way that is compelling, in order to win over clients and investors.
Jon Snow – Collaboration
Jon Snow’s abrasive nature never made him a very natural fit at the Night’s Watch. Despite this, he was able to inspire his brothers into success by cooperating with his enemies both within and outside of the Wall — even resorting to cooperation with the unruly wildlings. Learning to work with personalities and people that you do not necessarily get along with is an unpleasant but key feature of being a successful leader.
Sansa Stark – Adaptation
When the series began, Sansa was a naïve child who was doomed to marry the sadistic Joffrey. Until the fourth season, her life is constantly in danger and she takes no active role in determining her own fate. In season four, she adjusts her image and her attitude to match the conniving nature of her caretaker, Littlefinger. This type of adaptation and rebranding is sometimes necessary for a failing business. Taking an assertive, active role in your destiny will help your business flourish, especially when it encounters challenging situations.
Littlefinger – Hustle
In many ways, Petyr Baelish represents the idyllic startup business. Unlike most of his peers, he was not born into success – he had to build himself from the ground up. Littlefinger’s perseverance, hard work, and tenacity gave him the vast network of political power he has going into season six. Any successful businessman knows that these traits are essential and that they are characteristics whereby the rewards are seen after a long time. These traits need to be exercised habitually by a person that wants to fulfil their potential in business.