The Walking Dead is an American post-apocalyptic horror TV series that narrates what happens after zombies, or “walkers”, invade the world. Frank Darabont developed the TV series for AMC based on the comic book of the same name created by writer Robert Kirkman and artist Tony Moore.
A friend of mine introduced me to the series after its third season and I found it breathtaking, full of suspense and intrigue and I’m not alone. The show continues to clock an average of 10 million viewers worldwide and consistently receives strong ratings from respected critics.
The show is pretty amazing on its own but in studying the characters of Rick Grimes, Daryl Dixon and the rest of the group, I realized that the series is not only entertaining but also surprisingly educational! Yup, it turns out that surviving the zombie apocalypse can teach you some useful lessons about business and life.
If you’re seeking motivation and practical tips to grow your business, here is some Walking Dead inspired guidance to help you take it to the next level.
(Warning: this article contains spoilers if you’re not caught up with the most recent season as of publication.)
1. Remain Alert
In season 3, The Governor, played by David Morrissey, captured Michonne (Danai Gurira) and Andrea (Laurie Holden) and took them to Woodberry town (his kingdom). He is a charismatic leader but he his motives are questionable and his way of dealing with threats can be a bit, well, extreme (i.e., wiping out other groups and seizing their belongings) but Michonne’s heightened alertness and sensitivity about all that was going on in Woodberry enabled her to escape before it was too late. This saved her life. Andrea, on the other hand, entered into a false sense of security by falling in love with the Governor and was eventually killed.
In the business world, a keen sense of alertness is one of the vital things that will keep you going. You want to be a Michonne not an Andrea. Being conscious of all that’s going on around you; with your competition, with your employees and with your investors will continue to give you essential clues to help you grow your business. Honing your alert systems will also ensure that you double check things that seem too good to be true before accepting them (funding, offers of free help, etc.).
2. Be a Team Player
Though Glenn (Steven Yeun) and others were able to escape the zombie hoards, he decided to risk his life to go back and save Rick (Andrew Lincoln) in the second episode of season 1. This put them in great danger that could have lead to their deaths but because Glenn helped Rick, it paid off later as they were able to form a team that helped them survive longer than if they were going at it alone.
A successful business is made of different kinds of experts with different thoughts working together toward a common goal. This is why being a team player is very important. Learn to carry your team members along in whatever you do, never ignore them and try to listen to whatever they say even if you don’t agree with their ideas. Remember, there’s no “I” in “team”.
3. Upgrade Your Survivor Skills
Survivors of the zombie apocolypse need to exert caution with every step they take. They must not only learn to forage for food and destroy unrelenting bloodthirsty zombie hordes, but they must also develop skills to protect themselves against human scavengers. In seasons 1 and 2, Carol Peletier (Melissa McBride) is one of the survivors who is incredibly afraid and unsure, choosing to follow the lead of Rick and Daryl (Norman Reedus) and other group members instead of standing on her own feet. But as the show progresses she grows stronger, soon becoming a fierce survivor who shows up for her group many times.
One of the times she saved her group members is when they were captured in Terminus and were about to be killed. She shoot a firework into a fuel tank in Terminus causing an explosion and saving Glenn, Rick and others who were about to be slaughtered by the cannibals.
Similar survival instincts are necessary to survive the business world. When it comes to growing a lasting and successful business you become a survivor by becoming relentlessly curious, ever optimistic and always open to learning from past mistakes. Adaptability is also key. You must be able to adapt to changing situations, always prepared to pivot to a new direction and take a new approach.
4. Never Stop Learning
Based on the evolving story lines of The Walking Dead, we can deduce that learning is an essential tool in surviving the zombie apocalypse. The survivors are continually learning new skills but this is super apparent in season 7, when the Hilltoppers (one of the groups in Washington) learn how to use and throw knifes in preparation for the war against Negan. These new skills pay off at the end of the season when Rick and other Alexandrians use their supreme knife skills to escape.
If you want your business to grow, your learning should never stop. Stay inspired and motivated to continue to develop new skills and aptitudes and encourage (and support) your employees to do so as well.
Yes, You Can Defeat Zombies AND Grow Your Business!
Don’t wait for the apocalypse! Start approaching your business with a strong, determined and open mind. Be willing to work as a team player, learn new things and adapt to new situations… and watch your business grow.
What have you learned from watching the Walking Dead? Tell us in the comments, below!
– Emmanuel Ajala