6 Lessons Game of Thrones Can Teach Us About Business

Maybe you’ve only heard of it, or maybe you’re obsessed with either the book series by George R. R. Martin or the HBO television series. Whatever your experience is with Game of Thrones, you know how amazingly intense and deliciously dangerous every plot-line can be as the story chronicles the violent dynastic battles between the noble families of the realm for control of the Iron Throne.

“Battling for control of the throne? Sounds just like doing business!” you say.

We think so too! 

There are many parallels that can be drawn between Game of Thrones and all of us who are out there trying to make it in the business world. Today, let’s take a look and see what Game of Thrones has to offer us, GLAD WORKS friends.

This is gonna be fun and hopefully nobody will lose their head!

“There is only one god and his name is Death. And there is only one thing we say to Death: “Not today.”

As the young girl Arya is learning how to use her sword, her “dancing master” gave her this advice to help her find courage to keep fighting when it seemed she would lose the struggle. Indeed, her instructor’s advice came back to her when she was in danger and gave her the strength she needed to escape harm. When times get tough in business, it’s very tempting to throw in the towel. But refusing to yield and declaring “not today” when you’re faced with adversity can be a driving force to help you stay in the game and keep fighting.

“Different roads sometimes lead to the same castle.”

When Jon Snow leaves to join the Night’s Watch, he must say farewell to Arya, his beloved half sister. These words to her represent his hope that they’ll see one another again someday. Sometimes in business, just as it is in life, we have to part with people we love and respect. Maybe a favorite client stops using your services, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t ever be back. People come and go for all kinds of reasons, but if you have faith that your product or service is the best, and that you did all you could for your customer, have faith that they’ll be back again someday. Maybe they just have to explore other options first before realizing how much they loved you.

“The man who fears losing has already lost.”

We’ve heard it time and time again. In order to succeed in business, you can’t be afraid to take risks. It’s become a cliché, but it’s completely true. If we’re so afraid of failure that we shy away from trying new things, we’ll never get anywhere. We have to put on our armor and march off to battle. And remember the dancing master’s words to Arya: when you’re faced with defeat, say “not today” and then make some heads roll (figuratively speaking of course)!

“Wisdom oft comes from the mouth of babes.”

There is no question that many of the young folks in Game of Thrones are incredibly smart and savvy, but let’s face it. They have to be to survive! Although life in the real world isn’t quite so dangerous, there are still some super bright kids out there and we can learn a lot from them. Interns and new hires are often full of fresh ideas, so never underestimate them. Inspiration can come from anywhere, so be open to it all and good stuff will come your way.

“Life is not a song, sweetling. Someday you may learn that, to your sorrow.”

Just as we see with what Sansa, Danerys, and Arya have experienced, being thrown to the wolves is exactly what a young and inexperienced person needs in order to find their power. You can’t be afraid to give an intern (Hi! GLAD WORKS interns!) or a newbie a tough assignment. Going through a hard time is exactly what they need in order to truly find their talents and strengths.  Of course be there to guide them and provide a safety net, but don’t be afraid to challenge them! They need to learn how to fight for what they want. 

“Ofttimes a very small man can cast a very large shadow.”

The dwarf, Tyrion Lannister, is smarter and more mentally agile than most other men.  And although he is frequently disrespected because of his size, he’s still one of the most brilliant minds in all of the seven kingdoms. When King’s Landing was being attacked by Stannis, it was Tyrion who had the courage and skill to fight off his army until reinforcements arrived just in the nick of time.  In business, you don’t have to be a goliath to shape the landscape. Even a small business can make an impact and do really big things.

So, who’s going to be watching the season 3 premiere on Sunday?


  • Thu, 03/28/2013 - 12:37pm reply

    nice! another thing i have learned from game of thrones is that nice guys finish last and lose their head first!

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