Off-Topic Friday: Picard v Kirk

I have thought for a long time that Star Trek is a metaphor for life.

Especially for work and business.

But as much as I try to explain it to my wife, I still usually get the blank stare (you know the one I’m talking about), even though I converted her into a STNG fan when we were courting way back in grad school in 1990. (She doesn’t like or get Monty Python either)

I have been mapping out my business over the last couple of weeks trying to decide what to outsource and in-source, and it hit me again how Star Trek is relevant. In particular I thought about the different management styles of Picard and Kirk. (I’m serious! Keep reading!)

You see, in my view Kirk represents the old way of managing. He was involved in every decision. He led every away mission. He did all the heavy lifting on the show, to the extent that the only way that missions succeeded were because of his own heroic effort.

That made for some great television, but it’s certainly not any way to run a business, because it’s not a practical, nor sustainable, business model.

Now contrast that with Picard’s style. He made a point to recruit the best people possible for his crew (as did Kirk), but Picard got out of their way and let them do their jobs. He delegated everything, pushed his people to do more and develop their own leadership skills. And he rarely, if ever, led any away missions. He led, and focused only the tasks that he needed to handle. And he knew the difference.

Could Spock, Chekov, Sulu, Scotty, and McCoy have rescued Kirk from the Borg like the NG crew did with Picard? I doubt it. They had little experience operating anywhere but under the direct control of Captain Kirk.

So I’m choosing to structure and run my business like Picard ran the Enterprise – by outsourcing everything except for the tasks that require my personal attention, and delegating wherever I can.

But without the French accent.