“Great things in business are never done by one person;
they’re done by a team of people.”
– Steve Jobs
They may have lived in a post-apocalyptic reality, but in AMC’s hit series, The Walking Dead, the characters learn that evading the gruesome Walkers requires a cohesive strategy. Through coordination and collaboration, Rick and his survivors taught us the importance of forming valuable business relationships. When the putrid, corpse-like Walkers are salivating for a taste of you or your loved one for dinner, you’ll need a reliable companion by your side. No company is successful without forging critical internal and external partnerships. These relationships will help propel the business towards their overaching goals.
Sometimes We Need the Truth
Rick has had to rely on a number of individuals throughout the series, but the relationship he has with the sword-wielding Michonne has proven to be the most rewarding. Introduced to AMC’s crumbling world in season three, Michonne and Rick’s relationship was flawed and erratic at times, but through cooperation, their alliance became an integral part of their survival.
Not only did Michonne provide Rick with the knowledge necessary for becoming a better leader, but she also shouldered the responsibility of guiding the team forward when warranted. Similarly, executing a project or task in the workplace can sometimes require a second pair of eyes or the expertise of a colleague who specializes in a certain area. By opening yourself up to the prospect of collaborating with others, you could infuse your work with a unique perspective that you had never considered before. If Rick hadn’t listened to Michonne’s advice, they may not have ended up in the town of Alexandria.
When Two Becomes One
When successful partnerships are formed, the minds of multiple colleagues will find harmony; learning to operate on one frequency as a single unit. Returning to Steve Jobs, many may not know that it was with the help of Apple’s co-founder, Steve Wozniak, that the digitally-advanced empire became the household name it is today. Even someone as brilliant as Jobs could not have forged the legacy he did without the help of his partner. More often than not, greatness is manifested from teamwork. As George Shinn said, “There is no such thing as a self-made man. You will reach your goals only with the help of others.”
Read more about how collaboration is essential to being a successful leader, as well as the other traits that define The Modern Leader.
Two Peas in a Pod
Albeit being classified as “bad guys,” Negan and Simon are prime examples of how imperative it is to have someone you to help you engineer and carry out a plan of action. This could even mean aligning yourself with someone who is capable of making crucial decisions for you when you aren’t present. When Negan first meets Rick, he says, “Simon’s my right-hand man. Having one of those is important. I mean, what do you have left without him?” While the duo hardly share screen time, Simon is in the same position of power as Negan is. Despite a company’s wishes, the Owner or CEO cannot possibly be everywhere at every moment of the day. Having someone that you can trust to act on your behalf will ensure operations and future initatives of the organization are carried out as smoothly and effectively as possible.
When to Put It All Behind You
Let’s face it, workplace relationships are not always going to be smooth sailing. Rosita and Sasha are the perfect example of a pair that were constantly at odds with one another. For a while, it seemed like the two wouldn’t be able to find common ground. However, eventually, the two set aside their differences and formed an alliance for the benefit of the team. While you may not be facing someone with villianous tendancies like Negan, some projects require overcoming disagreements to build a strategy that blends together the ideas of the entire group. No matter what your personal feelings towards a collegue may be, you have to maintain your professional demeanor in order to successfully carry out the task at hand.
When to Walk Away
A toxic work relationship can be detrimental to your overall business strategy and goals. There will be occassions where a partnership is just not feasible, despite your efforts to remedy it. Respectfully walking away is the only way to end the mental and verbal tug of war of the relationship. Otherwise, you risk putting a huge burden on your employees/coworkers, harming productivity, and negatively impacting your bottom line. Rick and Shane’s partnership eventually turned tumultuous and not only was it harmful to group morale, but it halted their ability to resolve key issues.
Another successful Walking Dead partnership is between King Ezekiel and Jerry. Perhaps just as eccentric as the king himself, Jerry serves as a loyal and upbeat companion. The success and productivity level of a company is proven to increase when lead by an individual who is truly invested in the well-being of those who work hard to keep everything running. When you’re working with execs who exude positive energy, the motivation to succeed becomes second nature.