May the 4th Be with You – 5 Management Lessons We Learned from Star Wars

By Caerley Hill

Familiar with all of these quotes, you should be. A better manager, it will make you.

Last Sunday was May 4th, and for Star Wars fans worldwide this means celebrating the well-known movie franchise that has inspired generations for decades.

But instead of another article listing Star Wars factoids or likening its gadgets to today’s technology (seriously, someone made a speeder bike), we wanted to address some of the poignant life lessons that can be gleaned from these films.

“Never tell me the odds!” – Han Solo

Whether or not you believe that Han shot first, this quote of his is worth trusting when it comes to innovation. Of course, you should always look at the research (if available) and have a plan of attack. But never let a naysayer deter you from an idea that could potentially be a massive success. Sometimes, when your budget isn’t enough and your team is looking for that big breakthrough, you need to ignore the odds and just go for it!

“I’m not afraid.” – Luke Skywalker

After this iconic line, most Star Wars fans will remember that Master Yoda warned in an ominous tone, “You will be.” New ideas can be scary and, yes, all eyes might be on you for taking ownership of something groundbreaking, but that doesn’t mean you should let your fear stop you. While there may be bumps in the road, sometimes the only way to move forward is to say with confidence, “I am not afraid.” After all, once you start down the dark path of fear, forever will it dominate your destiny.

“Stay on target.” – Gold Five

This is a great piece of advice from a man who gave his life saving the galaxy. Gold Five’s edict is one that we all need to remember when things seem bleak. A business will have its ups and downs, but those who can stay on target will ultimately win. It may not look like the victory you had originally pictured, but the lessons you will have learned along the way will be invaluable in your next endeavor.

“Try not. Do… or do not. There is no try.” – Master Yoda

Master Yoda’s Zen-like teachings are famous for showing us all the ways of the Force. But no Jedi mind tricks are needed to follow this advice. There are people out there who talk about doing things and pontificate on big ideas, and then there are those who execute. The choice is simple, which are you?

“Perhaps I can find new ways to motivate them.” – Darth Vader

While Darth may have been a bit of a downer, he does make a good point here. Scoff all you want, but Darth did manage to build two fully operational intergalactic battle stations in his tenure. When you are leading a team that’s demotivated or low on morale, then perhaps you need to rethink your motivational methods. You could try fun nontraditional team-building exercises or gamify your team’s  goals by setting a prize for the highest-performing team member.

What’s your favorite Star Wars quote?

And, as a little something extra on this special day of days, if you didn’t know that Bea Arthur sang in the 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special, then you’re welcome!

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