Business lessons from Star Wars: How to become a Jedi company
6 min read
27 January 2017
Like most kids, I loved Star Wars and was enthralled by the adventures of the rebellion fighting against the evil empire. All I wanted to do when I grew up was become a Jedi like Luke Skywalker. Not much to ask, but then again I’ve always been ambitious – even as an eight year old. As I got older, a funny thing happened – a Jedi Knight I became thanks to the lessons from Star Wars movies!
So why am I a Jedi? Well, I might not be skilled at moving objects with my mind (yet) but I found that by setting my mind to the right path, I was able to assemble a team that’s capable of greatness, whilst also adapting the technology that sets us apart as a service provider. Yup, that’s one of the lessons from Star Wars.
Of course, for our experts, their lightsabres are mops, their Star Fighters are vans. But a Jedi breeds a certain kind of culture. In being a Jedi, you need to be selfless in helping others and I believe there is a new strand of companies that abide by the key principles of the light side of the force.
Like a Jedi, successful and ambitious companies and their leaders, need to be agile. One of the biggest lessons from Star Wars is that Jedi have a purpose that serves a greater good. As for Jedi business leaders, they understand doing things cheaper or faster is not always the best way to go and establish themselves. Indeed, the purpose of a company on the good side is to teach and train people how to be the best, whilst continually learning and improving upon its own methods. Doing things the right and proper way is a core philosophy which runs throughout the culture.
We see this in businesses like John Lewis, Virgin, Barclays and Zappos which all boast exceptional customer service and place the consumer at the heart of the brand. Those firms exist to serve the people and understand the wants and needs of the individual. Profit is of course important, but comes secondary to doing things the right way. Companies which don’t place the consumer first are battling on the dark side of the force where customer care leaves a lot to be desired.
Remember that customers have high standards and so should you. And striving to be the best will keeps you driven and motivated to achieve that Jedi master status. Luke is cool but Yoda is king. There is always something to learn – be it by gaining lessons from Star Wars or customer insight – and a Jedi business will never rest on its former glories.
The other critical Jedi trait is passion. You have to care about what you do, believe in your vision and show passion in every step you take. You have to stay dedicated and assemble a team around you that can share the same passion too – your staff, partners, customers, suppliers, agencies are all part of your business and your enthusiasm must transcend throughout them.
If you have this, customers will see that you care and if they feel loved, you will win and retain their business and they will recommend you to help you continue to grow. If you show you care, you will receive a great return by gaining the trust of your stakeholders and make them allies. It will go a long way to defeating the empire and winning the war – and those really are lessons from Star Wars movies.
Jedi also have the power of technology and this is something that’s key to any successful business operating today. You need to stay ahead of the technological curve and use technology to make people’s lives easier. Also, as a Jedi leader it’s up to you to use “the Force” in the right way. A business is made up of lots of moving parts and all of these parts are interconnected. Harnessing the power of the Force in the Light side or the Dark side, will help you manage these parts but the way in which you do this is up to you. If you show passion in a positive way, you can effect a positive culture and build a business full of people that share your same passions.
So to be a Jedi business, we are really talking about abiding by key philosophies and abiding by them with relentless desire to excellence. As an entrepreneur, I’m proud my business subscribes to a Jedi culture. At a time which has seen many businesses lose the trust of the people, including the likes of Volkswagen, wouldn’t it be great if more business owners installed a Jedi culture to help make the world a better place? As Jedi Knight Qui-Gon Jinn once said, “Your focus determines your reality.”
Rune Sovndahl is co-founder and CEO of on-demand domestic services provider Fantastic Services