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Karl Maslo | 5 galactic leadership mistakes that Star Wars left us
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5 galactic leadership mistakes that Star Wars left us

Do you want productivity? Involve your staff

Star Wars has given us memorable scenes that are already part of the history of the seventh art and that have marked the future of science fiction in cinema. But that is not all. Alex Knapp, editor of Forbes, points out in an interesting article that the Galactic Empire is a clear example of how not to run an organization. In his opinion, there are 5 leadership mistakes that not only led to the defeat of Darth Vader and his subjects, but can also lead to failure to your own organization. Therefore, avoid them!

 

1. Build an organization around people, not institutions: Everyone will remember that final scene of The Return of the Jedi, with the Emperor torturing Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader struggling between following his teacher's orders or saving his son, ends by killing the Emperor and dies later due to the wounds that the Emperor caused him. With them, the Empire also dies.

 

This is the case of many organizations, both public and private, that depend to a large extent in the fate of their leaders. In my case, as a former CEO of EXSA, human capital is and will be the most important thing within an organization. Everything can be bought: equipment, machines, technologies, systems, procedures, formulas, etc., but never talent. This must be attracted, motivated, encouraged, trained, empowered and given a career line. This is the only way to generate alignment and the sense of belonging among the staff. And, by the way, an executive has to have the ability to surround himself with staff better than himself and lead him. Only then he will be successful.

 

2. Deprive people the opportunity to participate in the organization: Palpatine, the Emperor already mentioned, committed another serious flaw: he stripped his followers and subordinates of any kind of motivation, basing his leadership on fear: obey or die

 

A similar situation is experienced in many local companies. It seeks to obtain maximum performance from employees through the fear of losing their Jobs or criticism, moving them away from the decision-making process in the organization Why would someone be interested in the success of an organization in which their only motivation is not to lose their job?

In EXSA the motivation and the due recognition of the personnel were always "core" stakes in their strategy and that has paid off over the years.

 

Do you want productivity? Involve your staff!

 

3. Do not have tolerance for failure: In a key scene from the movie The Empire Strikes Back, the Galactic Empire fails in its attempt to end the Rebel Alliance once and for all in the Battle of Hoth, because of an error of calculation of Admiral Ozzel, which brings the imperial fleet too close to the Hoth system, which allows the Rebel Alliance to detect the movement and flee. Darth Vader responds ruthlessly to this failure, assassinating his first officer right away, and ascending the second in command of the newly annihilated officer.

 

Vader must have directed his officer to a course of action that would correct that failure. Instead, it generated chaos by pushing officers into a sudden change of roles and responsibilities with no time to learn. This is how he implanted the idea that any initiative or suggestion that could lead to a failure will be paid with death. Under these conditions, it will be preferred that the superiors be mistaken.

 

Lets remember that failures are key to success. Although they may be unavoidable, the key is to learn from them.

 

Here it is important to clarify what for me is the difference between a failure and an error. The failure is involuntary and, while it is not repetitive, it is something very positive that should be promoted. On the other hand, error is the often premeditated transgression of norms, laws, regulations, orders, defined guidelines, etc., which obviously we must avoid at all costs.

 

4: Focus all the efforts of the organization on a single objective without considering alternatives: The Emperor only had two goals in mind: Build the Death Star to annihilate the Rebel Alliance and get Luke Skywalker to move to the Dark Side to replace Darth Vader, in a single (and suicidal) succession alternative.

 

Therefore, we should not be obsessed with a single way to succeed, something that has led to the failure of different organizations throughout history. During my time as Regional CEO of EXSA, I applied a constant innovation approach that avoided typecasting and allowed us not only to overcome adverse market conditions, but also to set the pace with an innovative solution such as Quantex Technology and others that I left in the inkwell and I imagine that they are in the process of implementation.

 

It is necessary to consider alternatives to the course of action and develop multiple plans to achieve particular goals. The strategy of a company can not be rigid and inflexible, but also must adapt quickly to situations that have to face, both internal and external, if it merits. A good executive must have the ability to identify and even see these situations come.

 

5: Do not learn from faults: Both Darth Vader and the Emperor dedicated money and a huge workforce to build the first Death Star. This only fulfilled one mission successfully before being destroyed by the Rebels.

 

The response of the two leaders of the Galactic Empire was to build a larger Death Star, which was also destroyed before its construction was completed. They made the same faults again and again until the Empire was destroyed.

 

Therefore, it is essential to learn from each failure to correct the course. If you do not learn from your faults and repeat them incessantly, you will lead your organization towards destruction. During my long career in EXSA, a business whose constant was and still is the change, we could not afford to make the same mistake twice consecutively…

 

What do you think? Are any of these management flaws familiar to you? Participate in the comments.

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13 june, 2018

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