“Who will arrive? Who will survive?”
A question pertaining to a zombie apocalypse or the shark tank that is the business world … or both?
AMC’s The Walking Dead is a television adaptation of Robert Kirkman’s comic series by the same title. A gritty horror-drama, the television series focuses on the exploits of surviving humans after the onset of a Zombie Apocalypse. Our protagonists are a specific group led by a former police officer, Rick Grimes. We watch on as Rick and company struggle to adapt and survive in a nearly alien, completely hostile environment while trying to preserve their own humanity.
While the group reacts to the pressures of their environment, their trials carry parallels and lessons that can be repurposed for the success and survival of a business:
I. Environmental Awareness
The first episode of The Walking Dead finds Rick awakening from a coma to a world already beset by zombies. Disoriented, Rick spends the next few episodes acquainting himself with how the world has changed since he was out. Only after spending a period assessing the current state of his environment and gaining his bearings, Rick begins to move to adjust and better his station.
Much like Rick Grimes, a successful businessperson must evaluate the changes in their market before making any decisions. Changes in the market, much like a zombie apocalypse, are both unpredictable
Humans within the series learn quickly that survival in a world of zombies involves a shift from how they operated beforehand. The massive change in their external influences means there must be an equal or greater change in their own behaviors if they intend to weather the figurative storm.
When there is a drastic shift in the market a business occupies, there must be a matching change in the practices of the business if it intends to remain within the market. The survivability of a business directly correlates to its ability to adapt to influences within its system.
III. Maintaining Identity
While the series chronicles the exploits of survivors after the collapse of modern civilization, they find themselves having to choose whether or not to hold onto their humanity as time marches forward. Rick, being a former lawman, tries to lead his group while adhering to a moral code. As the series continues, they find themselves having to make heart (and often, gut) wrenching choices, culminating in preemptively murdering other humans in their sleep. This choice, so far away from the moral identity the group forged for themselves, ends up causing the brutal deaths of two of their members in the opening episode of Season 7.
A business’s identity is crucial to its progression. As the business expands, it must maintain its identity at its core as a reminder of what it was when the journey first began. Straying away from those foundational ideals during a tumultuous period may yield negative results that were never expected.
The onset of a wave of zombies and the shifting market environment parallel one another. Only through patient analysis, evolving in response to stimuli, while retaining core ideals can one truly come out ahead in either circumstance. Surviving the market apocalypse might be a little less detrimental to your personal health, though.
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