Captain's Log: A Trek through Leadership in the 21st Century

I am a big geek. I think you can tell that from previous posts. One of the things that got me started on my road to Geekdom was of course everyone’s favorite nerd crush, Star Trek, and yes, I do own a purring Tribble thank you!

 

But what always attracted me to the show was not the unidentified Jujube looking candy buttons or tragically bad costumes on the “aliens” it as the stories and the characters. I can honestly say that a great deal of what I learned about leadership and diplomacy I learned from the Captains of the Trek universe. There was even a book that was a New York Times bestseller called ”Make It So-Lessons from Star Trek The Next Generation”  Here is a look at what some of those Captains’ taught me about being a leader and communicator;

 

James T. Kirk: The first of the TV Captains of the USS Enterprise, Kirk was the model of a "lead from the front" commander. Seriously, what Captain would really beam down on every mission with the guy in Red Shirt who was going to get vaporized in the first 6 minutes of the show?  He thought outside of the box and never let he never let rules or regulations keep him from achieving his goals. Though his brand of diplomacy was “cowboy diplomacy” it worked for the times when “upper management” (Starfleet Command) wasn’t around to answer questions.

Jean Luc Picard: Picard was the 'by the book' leader that everyone respected. His strengths were that he had high principled and performance standards for the crew of his Enterprise, which he applied foremost to himself, and he accepted his interpersonal flaws and took measures to moderate them. He also demonstrated effective techniques for balancing one on one relations with his crew. It didn’t hurt that he had an awesome speaking voice either!


Benjamin Sisko: As the commander of Deep Space Nine, Sisko was a master at successfully encouraging and leading a varied work force. His supreme strength was his ability to delegate responsibilities with authority while taking full responsibility for his crew and their actions. He also established extensive skill in disagreement resolution as he maintained peaceful relations with various species in his “jurisdiction”. He also had a really cool suave manner about him!

 

Kathryn Janeway: Captain of the U.S.S Voyager, lost in the unknown Gamma Quadrant, Janeway epitomizes the leader who is comfortable with change and uncertainty. She demonstrated a steady focus on her mission and the ability to problem solve for herself and keep an unsettled crew intact during trying times. She too had a cool voice.

Jonathan Archer: The shortest lived of the on-screen Enterprise captains because the show didn’t take with us nerds…geeks…Trekkers I mean…(darn), Archer was the very “first” Enterprise Captain heading Earth's first deep space exploration mission. He had to write his own set of rules in the wild wild west of unexplored space. His voice was…OK.


At the end of the day they all had the same basic traits we all leaders need;

 

- The Crew: Their crews were not mere tools to be used to accomplish a mission, but unique individuals, each with a contribution to make.

- Communication: Whether with members of their crews, or with aliens or New Yorkers, each had the capability to get their message across effectively.

- “Risk, is our business”- Kirk: Each of these Captains had the willingness to "go where no one had gone before," and the capacity to make decisions with whatever incomplete information was on hand.

- Honor: The Captains crew and even enemies knew where they stood and respected these leaders because of the standards they set. Each of them “talked the talk and walked the walk” and as Johnny cash would say, “Walk the Line”.

 

With a new crew in at the helm in a new revisionist movie series, we can only hope that they will inspire the new “21st Century Leaders” (as my friend Ted Coine’s calls the next generation) in whatever business you so passionately work in.

 

As Picard says, “Make it So. Engage.”

As Kirk would say, “Let’s see what’s out there. Mr. Sulu. Ahead warp factor 10.”

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Tags: Leadership, Star, Trek, cafe, coine, customer, facebook, food, internet, marketing, More…media, online, promotions, restaurant, service, social, sullivan, ted, twitter, ty

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Non-Operator
Comment by Bill Campion on April 6, 2011 at 10:05am

It's Uhura, but I'm sure you knew that... 

 


Non-Operator
Comment by Bill Campion on April 6, 2011 at 10:01am
Ah yes nice reference to Star Trek.  One of my "faves" growing up. Kirk was my hero - that boy had NO FEAR.  I don't really remember the other folks you reference but I believe whatever you say!  Anybody who would boldly go where no man has gone before earns my respect as a leader.  In the 21st century I believe this needs to be the leadership mantra.  With today's challenges leaders need to be willing to go out on the skinny branches to lead the change necessary to achieve business success.  Now more than ever change is omnipresent and those who get stuck will be sucking the exhaust of The Starship Enterprize.  Leave it to you to draw this analogy.  Thanks for making your communication fun and entertaining.  Do you think Ohoura (spell check please) and the Captain had a little sumthin sumthin goin on (on the side)?
Comment by Steven Groves on April 6, 2011 at 9:25am

Ty - I am SOOOO wth you on the geek side of things that I;ve had to admit I geek just about everything I do anymore; I love the social side of marketing and business, I am a reasonably accomplished kitchen geek and I am forever geeking the living environment around me to include a new tool, toy or gadget.  I've succumb to my symptoms and just admitted it.

The observation you've made though really speak to where the adoption of social is for the restaurant industry and many SMB merchants in general.  Now is a great time to make investments in a healthy mix of online marketing tools and begin finding out what YOUR audience wants and where they are online.  How?  Researching what others are doing, listening to the 'social phone' (a term coined by Radian6 CEO David Alston) to see where he conversations are happening and then engaging in the conversation when you have something to add.

Let's see what's out there indeed! I'm on your wing Amigo!

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