BPO Elite Blog Post #10 – Five Leadership Lessons From James T. Kirk

Time for to let my inner geek out and imagine for a moment that BPO Elite is my Enterprise. LOL! Yes, it is kind of silly, but I really do believe that we can learn lessons from fictional captains especially ones from the Star Trek Universe. SO much of Star Trek is grounded in reality, which why its science fiction and not fantasy. That said, here are how I apply these leadership lessons to my own mission of boldly going where no man has gone before.
1. Never Stop Learning – “You know the greatest danger facing us is ourselves, an irrational fear of the unknown. But there’s no such thing as the unknown– only things temporarily hidden, temporarily not understood.” – I 100% agree with this philosophy and am always seeking knowledge. I’m always reading, scouring the internet and connecting with new people. Lately I’ve been researching and networking to better understand the BPO recruiting industry in the Philippines. There is always something new to explore, and the best way to do it is by sharing experiences, teaching what you’ve learned and being open to differences of opinion.
2. Have Advisors With Different Worldviews- “One of the advantages of being a captain, Doctor, is being able to ask for advice without necessarily having to take it.” – This to me is one of the best things about Kirk’s management style. He listens to others to validate his assumptions, make corrections when appropriate and then make more informed decisions. I look at my partners and the people I surround myself with and know that they will shoot straight with me, but also have my back once a decision is made. For me, this is a key to my successes.
3. Be Part Of The Away Team – “Risk is our business. That’s what this starship is all about. That’s why we’re aboard her.” – Leaving behind a 15 year career, a good salary and lots and lots of stability to take a huge leap of faith is all about taking a calculated risk. I say calculated because, like Captain Kirk, I am not doing this alone. The choice to take the risk is based on research and done in partnership… blindly taking risks can be foolish, but knowing letting opportunity pass because of being afraid is even more foolish.
4. Play Poker, Not Chess – “Not chess, Mr. Spock. Poker. Do you know the game?” – A good poker face is so undervalued. I tend to wear my emotions on my sleeve in general, but when necessary I can put on a pretty convincing façade. Its something that I’ve had to learn over time and the better that I get at it, the further I get in life. However, of the five lessons listed here… this is the one I need to continue to work on the most.
5. Blow up the Enterprise – “‘All I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by.’ You could feel the wind at your back in those days. The sounds of the sea beneath you, and even if you take away the wind and the water it’s still the same. The ship is yours. You can feel her. And the stars are still there, Bones.” – See Lesson #3… only I didn’t blow up my ship, I jumped off my stagecoach! Seriously though, we tie ourselves down to a place because of material commitments and societal pressure and we lose the ability to be free. I am so blessed that my life is in a place where I can set sail and seek adventure across the Pacific.
Special thanks to the author of the original post, Alex Knapp of Forbes for the inspiration for this blog post. His final paragraph summing up the lessons he learned from watching Captain Kirk are all very, very applicable to me right now. Like Kirk, “I need to keep exploring and learning. I need to ensure that I encourage creativity and innovation by listening to the advice of people with vastly different opinions. I need to occasionally get down in the trenches with the members of our teams so I understand their needs and earn their trust and loyalty. I need to understand the psychology of our competitors and also learn to radically change course when circumstances dictate. By following these lessons, I can lead our organizations into places where none have gone before.”


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