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“When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground.”
This quote from Queen Cersei Lannister sums up the essence of the series. Those who share her aspirations to ultimate power would do well to take it to heart. If your goal is to succeed in the ruthless world of business, then you must commit totally.
Joffrey was dismissed as a pathetic little brat while his purported father was King. When Joffrey became King in his own right, those who had previously slighted him received harsh lessons in the error of their ways. Ned Stark payed with his life for the perceived humiliations his family had visited upon Joffrey.
Queen Cersei was often overlooked by the other power players. Cersei excelled at manipulation behind the scenes, often driving the plot in her quest for power. She was willing to countenance anyone’s death to be certain of her son succeeding to the throne.
King Robert Baratheon lost his foster father and loyal Hand of the King, Jon Arryn, to an untimely death. Robert’s dear friend and foster brother, Ned Stark, replaced Jon Arryn as Hand of the King. Ned in turn promptly lost Robert’s patronage and protection to Robert’s equally untimely death in a “hunting accident”. Shortly thereafter, Ned then lost his own life to Joffrey’s vengeance.
Never assume that the power structures that support and protect you are permanent. No matter how invincible you may feel, you should always have a contingency plan ready in case of disaster. Cultivate a strong network of contacts outside of your inner circle. Make certain that you are familiar with at least one high quality resume service.
The reality of the power plays of the corporate boardroom, much like reality in A Game of Thrones, is that you can never truly trust anyone. Even if someone is genuinely loyal to you, they may die or be forced from power at any time. See the serial deaths of Jon Arryn, Robert Baratheon and Ned Stark as a prime example of this.
Wise power players in the world of business only put their provisional trust in those they have long histories of friendship with. Old classmates and friends from your first real job will often make fine supporters if you ascend to the heights of power. Traditionally, a new CEO replaces much of the corporate support structure with their own loyal friends. Decades-long loyalties create the best minions.
Always keep an eye to assembling your own power structure. Always remain ready to adjust to sudden shifts of the winds of power. Remember that there is no middle ground.
Derek enjoys blogging for a warehouse consulting company.
Image Credit: ProLithic 3D
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