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Shannon Willoby

Is Your Business Headed for a 'Game of Thrones'-Style Slaying?

Shannon Willoby
Is Your Business Headed for a 'Game of Thrones'-Style Slaying?

Warning: Game of Thrones spoilers ahead. Proceed with caution.

Despair. Defeat. Death. These things probably come to mind when you think of Game of Thrones, but what about in relation to your business?

Harsh, I know, but if you don’t want to see your business beheaded at the hands of your competition, you’ve got to face these issues head-on.

To save your business from Game of Thrones-style slayings, let’s take a look at three ways it could meet its untimely death below.

Possible Death 1: Allying With the Wrong People

Like Jon Snow brutally found out, even with a large amount of allies, a small amount of enemies can still take you down. If your actions (in Jon’s case, allying with the Wildlings) make you look like a traitor, you’ve got a whole new set of problems on your hands. (Or in your chest, amirite, folks?)

Perception is everything and Jon made a decision to ally with people who his current allies just couldn’t get on board with – but he did it anyway and died heartbreakingly in the snow. (Yes, Jon Snow died in the snow.)

If you’re making decisions with your business that your customers or business partners aren’t happy about, you might want to reconsider. You, understandably, believe you know what’s best for your business – and you probably do… but that doesn’t change the fact that if the people who keep your business thriving aren’t happy with what you’re doing, it’s probably not going to survive much longer regardless.

Lesson learned: Prior to making decisions that you know could cause some upset, carefully consider the repercussions. Hey, make a pros-and-cons list if you have to – just think about what you’re doing before you do it to ensure you’re making the most educated decisions possible.

Possible Death 2: Ignoring Your Gut Feeling

Myrcella Baratheon was seconds away from setting sail toward a new life with her husband to be and uncle-father (the Lannisters are fond of incest) when a vengeful woman (Ellaria Sand, leader of the Sand Snakes) came up to kiss her goodbye.

Now if it were me, the fact that this woman is leader-mother to a ruthless lady gang called the ‘Sand Snakes’ would have been enough to make me avoid her like a plague of greyscale.

But did Myrcella make any attempt to avoid her or put a stop to that uncomfortably long kiss Ellaria planted on her? Nope. She just let it happen like an innocent fool and moments later, dropped dead (presumably) from a kiss that had been laced with poison.

Don’t want to give your business the kiss of death? Listen to your instincts when something seems off. Maybe it’s a gut reaction that the new office you’re considering renting for your business isn’t right – even though it seems perfect on paper. Perhaps it’s a potential new client who is ready to give you their business – but a little voice inside you is saying, “Don’t do it!” Whatever it is, your business’ livelihood might depend on your willingness to trust your instincts.

Lesson learned: There’s a reason your gut is telling you to reject that “kiss.” Stand up for yourself and don’t downplay your ability to know when something feels wrong for your business.

Possible Death 3: Being a Damned Fool

Stannis Baratheon wanted to be king, but almost more than that, he wanted to be told he was meant to be king. That he was destined for greatness. This guy loved compliments so much he’d probably have his own daughter lit on fire right in front of him just to hear someone tell him he’s awesome. (Wait… he actually did that.)

To get Stannis to do something really messed up, all you had to do was tell him what he wanted to hear. Feed that ego and he’d kill anyone you wanted – including his own flesh and blood. Ultimately, the spineless mistakes he made led to his final scene, which showed him bloodied and broken, facing death by sword.

Lesson learned: You must have a backbone when it comes to your business and stand up for what you believe is right, no matter how hard someone tries to persuade you to do what they want or how many compliments they try to cloud your judgment with.

Surviving and Thriving in a Cutthroat World

The real world, thankfully, isn’t filled with quite as many treacherous situations as Game of Thrones. But that doesn’t mean business owners can’t relate to the same adversities the characters face: the cutthroat competition, the crushing pressure to make the right decisions, and the constant demand to be a great leader.

Use the three deaths above (R.I.P.) to avoid three common, yet potentially crippling, mistakes and your business will have more than a fighting chance of survival.

What business mistakes have you avoided thanks to Game of Thrones? Let us know in the comments!

Shannon Willoby

Occasionally takes part in conversations.

Shannon Willoby is the director of content marketing for Scott’s Marketplace and editor in chief of the small business blog, The DRIVE.
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