Star Trek: 3 Lessons for Leadership, Life and Business
October 4, 2018
To boldly go where no one has gone before
It’s no secret that I’m the Bond Moroch office’s resident Trekkie. Clocking in at nearly 600 hours of content between 7 television series and 13 films, watching the entirety of current Star Trek canon would take you approximately 23 days – assuming you do not take breaks to sleep and watch each episode and film back to back. Luckily, I’ve done the hard work of keeping up with this massive media franchise to bring you some important lessons from Gene Roddenberry’s space utopia.
1. Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations
Star Trek has always been a trailblazer for diversity and representation in television, offering a view of humanity’s future in which people (and aliens) of all shapes and sizes live together in harmony. Each iteration of Star Trek prominently features characters from a variety of backgrounds, who bring their own unique experiences and opinions to the difficult situations a starship may encounter. Captains of Starfleet vessels often call these disparate groups together to listen to a wide array of viewpoints on how to tackle problems from diplomatic missions to warp core failure. While not all participants may agree, each viewpoint is carefully considered by the ship’s Captain to ensure success in the mission.
2. The Rules of Acquisition
Despite being set in a post-scarcity society, there are some characters in the Star Trek universe that actively participate in capitalist enterprises. No alien race is more equipped for the ins and outs of business than the Ferengi, whose culture revolves around the 285 Rules of Acquisition – standards that govern every business transaction to ensure “a fair and honest deal for all parties concerned.” Mentioned in the Deep Space Nine episode Whispers, 194th Rule of Acquisition states:
It's always good business to know about new customers before they walk in your door.
Researching and understanding your customers is an essential part of any business endeavor, allowing you to anticipate their needs before they do. As Quark can tell you, proactively analyzing a new patron segment can net you a lot of latinum.
3. The “No-Win” Scenario
At Starfleet Academy, all cadets must participate in a training exercise meant to test their character, the Kobayashi Maru. The simulation forces cadets to face the following scenario: rescue a Starfleet ship (named the Kobayashi Maru) caught in the Klingon Neutral Zone from certain destruction (putting their own ship’s passengers in jeopardy) or retreat. No matter what action is taken, the simulation guarantees the mission will be a failure - usually resulting in the destruction of both the rescue vessel and the Kobayashi Maru. The test teaches that sometimes, as is true in real life, there are no elegant solutions to a particular problem.
It’s these types of lessons that have made Star Trek the enduring franchise it is today. Its longevity in and of itself is perhaps the strongest lesson of all: that logic, exploration, and mutual understanding will always have a place in the hearts and minds of humanity.
Live long and prosper.
Allison Staub is a Digital Media Manager at Bond Moroch.