Five Leadership Mistakes Of The Galactic Empire – Forbes
My colleague Dorothy Pomerantz notes that this weekend, the re-issued 3-D version of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, pulled down about $23 million in the Box Office over the weekend. This got my mind to pondering the mistakes that people make, ranging from making the Star Wars prequels to reissuing them in 3-D to actually going to relive the misery that was The Phantom Menace all over again.
But mistakes are learning opportunities. And in thinking about Star Wars, let’s leave the prequels behind and focus on the original trilogy. It occurs to me that the Star Wars films have a lot to teach us about leadership styles.
In particular, the Galactic Empire strikes me as a quintessential example of how not to effectively run an organization. Let’s take a look at five of the Empire’s biggest mistakes and see how you can avoid them in your own organization.
Mistake #1: Building an organization around particular people, rather than institutions.
Perhaps the biggest mistake of the Galactic Empire made is its singular focus on the preservation of power for the Emperor and a few of his chosen lackeys. There is a constant through line we see starting with A New Hope and running through to the end of the Return of the Jedi of the Emperor consolidating more and more power into his own hands and that of his right-hand man, Darth Vader. In A New Hope, the Galactic Senate is disbanded in favor of regional governors hand-selected by the Emperor. By the time Return of the Jedi rolls around, the Emperor’s only advisor is Darth Vader, and his distrust in his organization is so complete that his only plan for succession is a desperate attempt to poach Luke Skywalker from the Rebel Alliance and get him to join his organization. Anytime your future plans depend on getting a rising star from a rival organization to join your team, you know that you have some serious institutional issues.
Strange Random Leadership Quote:
“A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.” – Lao Tzu (Chinese taoist Philosopher, founder of Taoism, wrote “Tao Te Ching“, 600 BC-531 BC)
- Awesome RAIDERS OF THE GALACTIC EMPIRE T-Shirt Design (geektyrant.com)
- Geektastic Galactic Empire and Rebel Alliance Star Wars Cufflinks (geeksaresexy.net)
- The 10 Most Annoying Star Wars Characters (teentech915.wordpress.com)
- More Than Just a Foot Soldier (eurobricksstarwarsforum.com)
- [Movies] Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (geeky-guide.com)
- Star Wars inspired headphone covers will rock the galaxy as well as your ears (digitaltrends.com)
- Yahoo! Blames ‘Subversive’ ‘Star Wars’ Prequel Trilogy on ‘Dangerously Simplistic Moral Absolutism’ of Bush (newsbusters.org)
- 15 of the Best LEGO Star Wars Sets of 2011 (list) (gadgetreview.com)
- PopWatch Rewind Strikes Back: Is ‘The Phantom Menace’ really as bad as we remember? Yes, absolutely, yes. (popwatch.ew.com)
Posted on February 22, 2012, in Article and tagged Box Office, Darth Vader, Galactic Empire, Jedi, Luke Skywalker, Rebel Alliance, Star Wars, Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Tao Te Ching. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.