How to Eat Brains and Influence People: How surviving zombies will help you survive business

Zombies have certainly become a popular subject in the last few years, taking its place among the great movie monsters of cinema history.  And with Halloween just looming on the near horizon, you can definitely expect to hear more about these ghoulish beasts.  The zombie genre has changed slightly over the years, from its mysterious roots in voodoo lore, but the core of what a movie zombie remains the same.  Like a virus, a zombie is simply a relentless thing with the sole purpose of spreading itself.  In many ways, zombies are like the problems any business faces on a daily basis.  In small groups, these problems can be handled and dealt with.  If left alone, however, these problems tend to multiply and eventually overwhelm the business.  Fortunately, the rules for handling a movie zombie can help us deal with issues we face in our professional lives.

The first rule we should look at is, “Know your surroundings”.  In surviving a movie zombie attack, this means having a good understanding of what’s around you.  Do you know where the next supply of medicine or food is?  Do you know where you can obtain a decent weapon or some ammo?  For business survival, this means understanding your business environment or surroundings.  Know what the others in your business are doing.  Do you know where the pitfalls are in your business world?  Knowing your surroundings also means studying the people around you.  Get to know the coworkers and the people that answer to you.  Learn something about your clients and understand where your competitors are, who they are, and what they are planning to do before they make a move on you.

The next rule to follow is, “Be prepared”.  It’s the Boy Scout motto after all.  When you are out and about with a horde of zombies shuffling around, you better be able to look around the corner before you dive in.  This is true with business decisions as well.  Make bold decisions, not rash ones.  Plan you routes ahead of time to avoid potential problems or issues.  Know where you want to take your company before you make your move.  Otherwise, you might find yourself lost or trapped in a situation you didn’t expect.  You should also plan to have the necessary resources available when you need them.  During the Zombie Apocalypse, you need to make sure you have adequate supplies, food, and medicine.  In business, you need to have the right manpower, the financing, and the hardware to take you to where you need to be.

Along with being prepared, you should also “Have an escape plan”.  You need a plan if a project fails unexpectedly.  Set up a disaster recovery plan in cases of hard drive failure, power outages, or a sudden loss in manpower.  Along with that, make sure you have an awareness program active, so that your employees know what to do in the event of an emergency or incident.  And just for fun, you could even schedule a mock zombie raid to get them in a playful mood.  Imagine having your fellow “cubical zombies” dressed up in zombie makeup as they shuffle about the hallways while the other people try to get to the fire exits.  Just make sure everyone knows this is a fun little drill though.  You don’t want people getting upset or frightened.

Another rule to follow when attempting to survive movie zombies is “aim for the head”.  Just about every zombie movie I ever seen, we are constantly told to aim for the head.  In the business world, this means we need to use logic in our decisions and attack your opponents with sound ideas.  Passion is important, but you must remember to temper your passion with logic when making a decision.  The same is true when you confront someone.  Attacking their heart (the things they are passionate about) will only lead to further arguments.  Tackle arguments using facts that cannot be disputed.

The final rule to follow, and perhaps the most important, is “Don’t ever stop moving”.  Stagnation almost always leads to failure.  In a zombie movie, staying in one place too long leads to ultimate brain drain. And like in zombie movies, it is okay to double back occasionally if you find yourself heading for a bad situation.  Fall back and regroup.  Whether you are being chased down by fifty zombies or whether your new business strategy involving zombie repellant for pets is tanking, do not be afraid to have a safe spot to fall back to.  It’s okay to continue doing the things that are safe and comfortable.  Just remember not to stay in that place for too long.  Otherwise you could found yourself in trouble in the future.

From the CDC – Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse

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  1. [...]  09/2011:How to Eat Brains and Influence People: How surviving zombies will help you survive business [...]

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