May the Force Be With You: Lead Like a Jedi

star wars

Today is Star Wars Day; an unofficial holiday celebrated by science fiction fans across the globe. For the uninitiated, look at the calendar while you say this phrase out loud: “May the fourth be with you.”

Whether you like the films or not, there’s no denying the impact they have made on the world. Little did George Lucas know that his story would become such a phenomenon, sparking a revolution in filmmaking and introducing a mythology that has touched multiple generations. I remember when Star Wars came out. The films still fascinate me today (of course I’m talking about the original trilogy – not the prequels) and my children love them as well.

Central to the Star Wars universe are the Jedi – fierce warriors who master the Force in pursuit of wisdom and peace. They serve the galaxy and educate others while protecting the weak against the evil Sith. The Force is a mystical power – an energy that flows around and through all living things. Once harnessed, it provides a Jedi with the ability to influence other people and objects around them.

Jedi are widely respected and admired. There are many who aspire to become Jedi, but only a handful have the discipline and focus to achieve master status. I don’t know about you, but that sounds a lot like the workplace I find myself in every day. Wouldn’t it be great if we could master the Force? Wouldn’t it be exciting to have such a powerful influence on our coworkers and customers?

In honor of Star Wars Day and the highly anticipated seventh movie currently in production, here is a trilogy of quick tips for tapping into the Force around you along with some illustrations from the making of the Star Wars films.

1. Always bet on your own success. George Lucas wasn’t very optimistic about Star Wars. He felt that Close Encounters of the Third Kind, directed by his friend Steven Spielberg, would be the box office hit of the year. Spielberg felt that, while his movie would be successful, Star Wars would prove to be something special. So the two agreed to give each other 2.5% of the proceeds from their movies. Lucas’s reservations about his own success has earned Spielberg millions of dollars every year since.

2. Let mistakes become part of your story. Mark Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker (one of the story’s central characters) was injured in car wreck just prior to the filming of the trilogy’s second movie, The Empire Strikes Back. He sustained severe trauma to his face that significantly altered his appearance. Rather than let the incident derail the entire film, Lucas wrote a new scene for the beginning. Luke, out on patrol on the ice planet Hoth, is attacked by a Wampa beast; making his facial scarring and altered appearance part of the story.

3. Listen to your fans. Some of the ideas Lucas had for his movies didn’t make it into the final version. Technology had not advanced enough for some of the more demanding scenes he’d envisioned. Years after their release, however, Lucas decided to go back and adjust the films; adding in these missing scenes and cleaning up some of the “wonkier” effects shots. The fan base went nuts and claimed he had ruined the movies with his “fixes.”

We all want to be part of something successful. We want things to go our way and for our customers to react enthusiastically to what we offer. I believe that by treating every aspect of our job as a masterpiece, working through the inevitable problems we face, and viewing our customers as partners, we can tap into the forces that guide us to success.

May the Force be with you!


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