The broadcast of the eighth and final season of Game Of Thrones is an event of interest to historiansspecialists in pop culture, or even philosophers. But the American television series can also be analyzed through the prism of management, since several scenes from previous seasons can recall elements of corporate life.
First, it is interesting to compare the tense situation at the end of season 7, which sees the horrific undead soldiers crossing the famous wall to invade Westeros, to the blindness that whole sections of the industry may have known – or know. We are thus witnessing the slow death of push-button telephones, the record industry, television and in particular traditional pay-TV (disrupted by the power of Netflix, Apple, and other Amazons) or even major daily newspapers, to speak only of the world of cultural and related industries.
Beyond a certain lack of lucidity, it is above all in my opinion the inability to get out of sectoral, even corporatist reflexes, which slow down the inevitable changes: we continue to wage war between peers, to benchmark each other and to imitate, when the disruption we talk about so much can only come, in my opinion, from a hybridization with other professions, than from a game of alliances that are a priori improbable – as Jon Snow manages to do by bringing together the Northerners and the Sauvageons, but not only.
In this sense, the astonishing posture of Carglass, which launched in early 2019 Carglass Home by buying out a player in the home maintenance and small repairs sector, seems to me to be enlightening about this posture, which is certainly surprising at first reading, but ultimately carries meaning and synergies that are more obvious than it seems at first sight… while the brand faces increasing competition in its historic core business.
Daenerys, or the art of surrounding yourself well
In the collective work whose publication I initiated, I deal in particular with the case of Soprano and Tony Soprano’s chronic inability to know how to surround yourself with the right people to help him make the right decisions. If the art of management is first of all the art of arbitrating well, it implies upstream to co-construct decisions to create commitment, and therefore to build a decision-making process that allows managers to create with and around of their person the conditions of this engagement and of a decision taken in a collegial way – at least by their N-1.
Because he is surrounded by peers, lieutenants like him from the Italian-American minority, working-class neighborhoods and a culture of physical violence that is acquired from an early age, Tony Soprano rarely makes the right decision. …because he is in bad company, badly advised, without advice, contravening the atavism he shares with those close to him (sometimes parents). I often repeat that the first role, the first responsibility of a leader is to know how to surround himself with people who will help him to take, then to decline, the best decisions in a given context. .
Tyrion advises Daenerys before the Battle of Mereen. | Screenshot via Youtube
In this sense, Daenerys Targaryen is the one who, because she opts for another improbable form of alliance, is able to moderate her ardor to cool it down in the light of a colder and more Machiavellian reason – via in particular the advice given to him by his hand, Tyrion Lannister, hated brother of his worst enemy, Queen Cersei. Because she knows how to listen to him, while sometimes taking decisions contrary to the convictions he defends, she is able not only to federate around her (I will come back to this) but also to win even though she is undoubtedly the protagonist who had, at the beginning of the story, the lowest probability of survival.
Thus, by accepting on the advice of her hand an alliance that will be so strategic (but not only) with Jon Snow, when so many things oppose them at the start, she knows how to listen, change her position and take the initial step that makes everything possible afterwards. It is by associating the sincere support of two characters from whom everything seems to distance her a priori that she creates, at least until this seventh season, the conditions for success.
The art of boarding
At a time when the question of on boarding, to speak this marvelous Franglais of management, becomes so fundamental in the process of transformation, creating the conditions for broad support and much more, for a real commitment, is more than ever a key factor of success in any company – and this in the private as well as in the public sphere. In this respect again, our heroine is the one who, with her ally Jon Snow, is the only candidate for supreme power whose motive is not simply power – for the power to exercise it – but power for what he makes possible, at the service of the people and in particular of the most deprived.
Her troops, and season 7 manifests it in an exemplary, explicit way, follow her neither out of interest nor out of fear, but simply because they have chosen her; chosen for her qualities, for what she has achieved, and not for her pedigree, because she is the “daughter of” (of a large family in this case, but it could be in the company of such and such large school). Of course, in companies we only exceptionally choose (in the context of cooperatives) our leaders, and just as rarely our managers. But the adherence and commitment of the teams nevertheless remain an essential lever for moving forward, and neither the stick nor the carrot alone is no longer enough, or only for a time, to federate and move an entire body. social. In these conditions, Daenerys opens up some interesting perspectives for us to observe:
- She says what she is going to do and she does what she said she would do: her word is strong, credible, and she follows through on her commitments.
- She is courageous, she does not hesitate to go into the fire, in the front row, to lead her troops – where it is a question of managerial courage and exemplarity.
- She is lucid about her strengths, works on alliance games, does not rely only on her powerful dragons. It goes step by step, and gradually builds its power and its influence starting from… nothing! The company is a game of alliance, of cooperation, or else we play the deadly game of silos.
- She dares to go against: against certain rules, certain practices, certain traditions… She is the “chain breaker”, the one that breaks the infernal cycle of slavery for certain populations for example. A manager or a leader, for me, is also the person who dares, who sometimes breaks the rules to create a healthy break.
- She is authentic, sincere, sometimes too whole but always aligned with herself and this form of transparency, rare among her peers, earns her the respect of those around her.
- She has confidence in herself, believes in her chances, does not allow herself to be discouraged or distracted from her objective – to take power to create a better world.
- And she knows how to surround herself, as we have seen .
The final word
Game Of Thrones, as we can see, does not only shed light on the geopolitical, philosophical or historical issues of our time. This (too) quick read shows that the most popular series of all time opens up a rich range of interpretations and analyzes for the corporate world to help executives, leaders, managers, to reflect on their postures and their practices. By relying on a few excerpts, it becomes possible to give the floor to a collective and to share some fundamentals around decision-making, the ability to embark, listening, cooperation or even lucidity in the face of to the transformations taking place around us.
If I have developed here a reading essentially centered on the character of Daenerys, Jon Snow provides the figure of a leader with equally inspiring qualities, while he himself did not appear at the origin of the series as a protagonist. who could end up on the podium: by his sincerity, his courage, his loyalty to his family, his ability to federate but also to go against (by coming as he does in season 7 in front of Daenerys against all opinions together), by his talent for dialogue and convincing (the Sauvageons to follow him, Daenerys to join forces with him to fight the White Walkers), by his modesty and his respect for a few strong values (he too wants power to be useful to his people), he becomes the king of the North.
Both share many qualities, not the least of which is tenacity in the face of adversity. Two remarkable entrepreneurial figures.