15 Business Lessons We Can Learn From The Walking Dead’s Negan
AMC’s The Walking Dead knows exactly how to evoke emotion. I mean, I know I’m not the only one who’s cried during an episode (or two). But, who knew it could also teach us business lessons?! This season’s villain Negan is said to be the worst the group has encountered thus far. At this point, the group is barely afraid of zombies. Humans are one interesting species. You’d think a common threat would make us band together. But, alas, it just made lawlessness prevail.
Negan is one of those men who probably had zero power in his former life and decided to live it up now that there’s an apocalypse. The man killed fan favorite Glen, for goodness sake! However, no matter how much we loathe him, we must admit he runs a pretty tight ship. Mind you, this man is not what you would call a perfect leader. So, what exactly can Negan teach us about running our businesses more smoothly? Let’s dissect what he does well and what he doesn’t do that well to take our businesses to the next level. Shall we?
Naturally, running a business is no walk in the park. We could use all the help we can get, even if it comes from a super villain. Even solopreneurs work with others at some point. It’s a must to know how to manage a team and build fruitful partnerships. Rick could have also gone under the magnifying glass, but Negan is just so ridiculous that I had to dedicate this whole article to only his antics.
If you want to build a profitable business this year, keep reading.
- Believe in the art of exchange
Negan doesn’t just take and take and take without giving you anything in return. He believes in the age-old practice of exchange. You give him a portion of your loot, or become part of his clan and do his evil bidding, and he won’t kill you and/or will give you room and board. The world is all about exchange. You exchange your time for a paycheck. In order for your employees, or team of freelancers, to find exchanging their time worthwhile, there has to be a good incentive. What are you offering your team? Is the income lucrative? How about the company culture? Do you have a cool office space? Unless you want some of your subordinates planning a rebellion against you, make sure it’s a fair exchange. Needless to say, your team should feel like it’s in a safe environment for work to flow effortlessly. Negan’s group definitely feels threatened. Your employees shouldn’t feel like if they make a mistake, they’ll get the bat (I mean boot).
- Don’t steal
Ever had a boss pass off your ideas as his/her own? Isn’t that annoying? Have you ever done work under the umbrella of a company and have to sign a non-disclosure agreement so you couldn’t say that you worked on so and so’s project, which, by the way, would look great on your resume? Then, you can somewhat relate to what the people at Negan’s camp are going through. I mean, Negan even steals his people’s wives. That’s just disturbing and cult-like, if you ask me. Celebrate your team’s contributions. Recognize their strengths. Build up their weak points. Make sure they feel valued and supported. All in all, conduct your business with integrity. Now, when it comes to your customers, make sure that everything you create for them is original. Imagine them being so proud of a web page you’ve created for them, and then them seeing the exact same template elsewhere. Not the best look.
- Do delegate
Every one of Negan’s subjects has a duty. Some people are responsible for guarding the camp, others are responsible for torturing people and others collect food and supplies from other groups. The camp functions like a well-oiled machine. As an entrepreneur, you need to figure out the tasks you can handle yourself and the ones that are best to delegate to others. This prevents you from burning out, which would lead to a stressful work environment. Make a list of all the tasks that need to be done on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, and determine who should be in charge. Will a team, or a single person, handle the tasks? When building a team, make sure everyone is compatible so you don’t have to play referee. Make sure to equip your team with the tools they need to complete each task, as well. Nothing like being tasked to look for supplies without a car, right? You want to make sure your business runs smoothly lest your team start to think you’re ill-equipped to lead…more on that later.
- Don’t seek revenge
Okay, for Negan, it’s not really revenge. To him, the things he does are totally justifiable disciplinary methods. So, as you know if you’re a fan, the group killed a bunch of Negan’s men. So, he killed Abraham with his trusted bat Lucille. Then, when Daryl lost his cool and punched him, he killed Glen (tear), as well, for the sake of principle. To me, this seems a tad excessive. I mean, sure, the team did kill Negan’s men first, but it’s not like they killed any of the regular characters. Anyway, most places have some type of warning system for employees. When I worked in Korea, taped to the wall near my desk, was a warning that said I’d get a warning if I showed up late, etc. I must admit, I rolled my eyes when I first saw it. I dislike threats with a passion. And hey! Maybe I’m the problem for thinking that way. What I’d do instead is make a list of standard procedures and explain why each one is of the utmost importance.
- Don’t be cruel
Negan totally disrespects his subordinates. He laughs at them, makes inappropriate jokes and whatever else you can think of. I once had a boss who made a joke about not being able to see me in the dark, since I’m black. When I didn’t laugh, he proceeded to break down the joke to explain why it was funny. Don’t be that person. As entrepreneurs, we network, and you don’t want to get the reputation of being prickly. Don’t make slanderous posts online about your competition. Don’t hire others to do so. Just be decent. Power certainly corrupts, and, as entrepreneurs, we do have some power. We don’t need to answer to anyone but our clients. One thing that people hate is being underestimated. Don’t talk down to your workers or assume they don’t know the simplest thing. You want to create a healthy work environment, even if that environment is online. Your employees/freelancers should feel safe to come to you with their problems without fearing ridicule.