When we think about lessons to be learned from Game of Thrones, we probably first think about how not to get incinerated by a dragon or have your head caved in by an angry Icelandic bodybuilder. However, there might be a little bit more to this show than that.
The land of Westeros is a dangerous place, which means making the right choices for self-preservation and security are vital to survival. In business, it’s largely the same. By looking at the successes, and failures, of Game of Thrones, can we learn how to better secure our own position?
Select Your Allies Carefully
If Game of Thrones is famous for anything, other than being one of the most successful shows of all-time, and one of the best fantasy books ever written, it’s a good old-fashioned betrayal. From Ned Stark putting his faith in the wrong psychopathic monarch to his daughter Sansa Stark putting her faith in the wrong psychopathic merchant, it’s far too easy to find yourself wrapped up in somebody else’s scheme. It’s all Red Weddings, and Purple Weddings, and back-stabbings galore in Westeros, and it can be the same in business if you aren’t careful.
From employees stealing company information to partners acquiring data to meet their own needs, it’s no secret that business is a dog-eat-dog world, and if you don’t watch your back, somebody will try to take your success and make it theirs.
But how can we take the lessons of Game of Thrones and avoid problems in our own business? First, we have to look at the people who don’t get betrayed and how they avoid it. Those like Tyrion and Tywin Lannister, or Daenerys Targaryen, don’t often find themselves caught out by others. And why is this?
They have extremely secure vetting processes and codes of conduct. They don’t just work with anyone who offers them potential for support. They investigate them, they ask them to prove themselves and they follow their intuition. In business terms, how does this translate? It means to secure stronger allies and survive, you need to:
- Gather trusted feedback and referrals
- Extend your partner acquisition processes
- Assign prospective tasks to test them
- Network thoroughly to gain the best relationships
- Respect the system you operate within to avoid making enemies.
Build the Right Defenses to Protect Your Assets
The Boltons stole the North, Sam stole his father’s Valyrian Steel sword, that warlock stole Dany’s dragons and Arya stole many people’s faces. What does this tell us — other than the fact that Game of Thrones is full of thievery? It tells us that if you don’t properly protect your assets, people will try to take them from you.
Theft is rife within business. Unfortunately, around 10% of all businesses experience theft annually. The commercial nature of a corporate entity attracts high levels of crime, and a lack of protection can result in major asset losses for your brand. But what are the best ways to negate these risks?
You need to follow on from the Game of Thrones success stories and build the right defences. The Eyrie has been kept safe from invasion thanks to its adeptly designed gate. King’s Landing was saved from a deadly sacking by wildfire. The entire continent was protected from a dangerous enemy by a massive wall of ice. This tells us that the core element of asset protection is appropriate investment in the right systems for the job. Failing to put the correct measures in place leaves you vulnerable.
Evaluate your position just as Bran the Builder did before he built The Wall. What do you need to secure your assets? You might need business security systems like commercial safes and alarm systems. You might need data protection methods like advanced encryption or state-of-the-art software. Or you might need a drawbridge, a portcullis and an army of trained soldiers armed with crossbows and short-swords.
It totally depends on your unique circumstances.
Whatever you need to keep your most valuable assets secure and your business safe from theft, ensure you make the proper investments. If you don’t, you’ll find you’re in the same position as the wildlings were at Hardhome: totally unprepared for the threat.
Learn to Fight Back
Sometimes the best defence is a good offence.
When Cersei’s position was threatened, what did she do? She unleashed wildfire and destroyed her enemies. When Sansa was forced into a corner, she fled, raised an army and defeated her oppressor. Game of Thrones teaches us that we can’t expect to survive if we simply just attempt to the weather the storm. The long night wasn’t ended by waiting it out. It was ended when the legendary Azor-Ahai took up arms and defeated the White Walkers.
Being aggressive with your security measures and business protection can often be the best way to reduce incidences of crime. Just as Tywin, arguably Westeros’ greatest business mind, avoided conflict by displaying an iron fist and possessing an impeccable history of victory, so too can your business dissuade potential criminal occurrences by developing convincing deterrence factors.
Taking a stance of zero tolerance, of showing that your business isn’t going to accept theft or criminal activity without a fight, will go a long way to deterring such problems. Steps you can take include making your security obvious, with the inclusion of deterrence factors like CCTV, on-site guards and security lights.
But your offensive strategies don’t have to be so black and white. Other things you can do include keeping your systems up to date, like employing smart security systems and the latest data protection systems. By being forward thinking and aggressive with your security tactics, you can make it so difficult for crime to take place that people won’t actually attempt it.