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Leadership Lessons from James T. Kirk

Come on, we all thought he was hot—those high-heel black boots and the way he was always able to get the blue skin girl with the mini-skirt and 1960’s hairdo!  Apparently James T. Kirk offered more than fashion advice as pointed out by Alex Knapp’s March 5, 2012 article in Forbes Magazine regarding Capt. Kirk’s leadership prowess James T. Kirk.

  • Never Stop Learning—We are never too old to pick up something new or change the way we approach a situation.
  • Have Advisors with Different World Views—maybe not a Vulcan but certainly someone with different skills or perspective. A sure sign of wisdom is surrounding yourself with people who are better at certain aspects of business than you are.  It takes some self-awareness and comfort with your own strengths and weaknesses but in the end you don’t want to be with a bunch of yes men.
  • Be Part of the Away Team—get your hands dirty doing the work and then the doers will respect your ability to lead. Kirk always put himself in harms way first. Employees respect your knowledge of the business and your understanding of what they contribute.  We all love that show “Undercover CEO”, same concept…
  • Play Poker, Not Chess – life is a game of probabilities not defined rules… Maybe so but I’m not great at games.  Certainly business and leadership in any industry is about having the bravado to go on gut.  You will never have all the data, that old 80/20 rules is time and again.
  • Blow up the Enterprise – Change what isn’t working and embark on a new path, even if you have to live in a Klingon Ship for a while… Even William Shatner learned this lesson. He could be living off the fumes of James T. Kirk but instead he’s on Broadway doing a one-man show. He learned to not take himself so seriously—a good lesson for us all…