Everything I Know About Business I Learned From Star Trek (the Original Series) Top 10 List, Part I
Originally published June 8, 2016 on The Purple Dog Coding, Tech, and Business Blog at PurpleDogEnterprises.com
Star Trek Beyond is hitting the silver screen this week and is already receiving rave reviews. The show which started it all has taught me many valuable teaching points about life, love, humanity, and it has even helped shape my business skill set and offered guidance along the way. Here is the first half of my top ten list of lessons:
10) Diversify Your Crew
The crew of the Enterprise was incredibly diverse. Take the trio of Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock, and Dr. McCoy for example. Kirk was daring, bold, emotional, and heroic. Spock brought rational thought, a level head, and logical thinking to the table. Bones was practical and compassionate. Together, they achieved balance and became so much more than just the sum of their parts.
Your business team should embrace diversity as it will produce different viewpoints and perspectives that can provide insight that you wouldn’t have on your own.
9) Get Personally Involved in the Action
James Kirk was a hands-on manager. He walked the ship and was in contact with his crew all of the time. This is a wonderful approach to bring to your business. To be considered a truly effective manager you must know what your people are experiencing all of the way from the front-line staff to your closest peers.
Kirk even joined away teams frequently thus putting himself directly in the mix and in danger (although he was always fairly safe since he never wore a red shirt). Planning and dictating will only take you so far. Instead, get involved and take an active part in your own operations.
8) Even the Best Engineering Can’t Save Everything
The U.S.S. Enterprise was never destroyed in the original series but it certainly came close numerous times. The cosmos in inherently dangerous and so is the business landscape. Even the best plans and specs in the world (or galaxy) cannot prevent any and all potential disasters but the key is to be flexible and adaptable on the fly. Establishing standard operating procedures for your business will save you time and money, especially in the event of emergency.
No one will ever achieve perfection in their business model or operations. Trying to build a great system that runs smoothly is a noble pursuit, but just ask Chief Engineer Mr. Scott and trust him when he says- “Ye canny break the laws of physics, Capt’n.”
7) Communication is Vital
Communications Officer Lt. Uhura saved the day in the episode “Mirror, Mirror” but it certainly wasn’t the first or only time. She played a vital role in bridging the gap between the Federation and potential enemies, between Captain Kirk and alien life forms, as well as between crew members.
Effective communication is vital in a successful operation. Businesses excel when they are able to clearly explain policies and procedures to clients and thriving customer service relies on listening to and understanding others. Don’t just “open hailing frequencies”- be ready, willing, and able to take in new information to learn and act appropriately to it.
6) Delegation is the Logical Choice
Even though Captain Kirk was responsible for over 400 crew members he was rightly never afraid to delegate. No one can do everything that needs to be done whether it’s on a starship or running a business. Assigning individuals and groups to appropriate projects can pay off tremendously.
Even sole-proprietors can benefit from automating tasks and shifting work responsibilities (such as setting up automatic bill pay to save you time and money). Delegation is a crucial skill that can free up your time so that you can use your talent and ability on bigger problems and advance your enterprise (or Enterprise) into places no one has gone before.