Leadership Lessons from 'Star Trek'

Taking command of a starship is a lot like running a company. You have to have a vision, a team to help you get the job done, and you have to make tough decisions with your head and not your heart. Feeling a little shaky in the Captain's chair? Here are a few leadership lessons from Star Trek that will help you through tough times.

Surround yourself with smart people and listen to what they have to say.

When the Enterprise runs into trouble, Kirk depends on his team for expert counsel. He listens to what everyone has to say, from Spock all the way down to the red-shirt security guy who won't make it past the first half hour. Each person brings not only different information, but also a different point of view into the conversation and that's what a good leader needs in order to make the right move.

As a leader, you need to not only hire the most knowledgeable people you can find, you also have to let them know that their opinions are always welcome. Just remember that ultimately, the final decision is up to you and once you make it, you have to own it.

Learn to embrace other cultures

The United Federation of Planets is all about cultural harmony. As their emissary in space, Captain Kirk must be careful not to make any cultural missteps while entertaining alien guests. Protocol is important, as are the little touches that make a visitor feel welcome such as providing appropriate food options. Going the extra mile can mean the difference between winning a lucrative mining contract and turning that mine over to the enemy.

Here on Earth, cultural tolerance is a must if you want to stay in business. We no longer live, work and shop within blocks of the house we were born in. We've become global travelers. We do business with people from all over the world and people from all over the world come into our stores and restaurants. Embrace the change. Embrace other cultures. You'll be amazed by what it will do for you and your business.

Boldly go where no man has gone before

Kirk and his crew had to leave Earth in order to explore new worlds. You can do it without leaving your office. All you have to do is open your mind to the possibilities. Hold regular brainstorming sessions with your staff. Anything goes. Write down every idea. Connect the thoughts with colored markers, add sticky notes and drawings. Don't be afraid to dream big, that's where the game changers come from. Maybe you'll create a new product that no one has ever seen before or a process that will revolutionize your field. Even if it's just a crazy new sandwich for your restaurant's menu, that has value, too.

What's important is that you reach for the stars and believe that you can get there.

In 1901, H.G. Wells wrote a book about a man who takes a rocketship to the moon. People thought it was a fantasy but look where we are now.

What Do You Think?

What business or leadership lessons have you learned from Star Trek? Tell us in the comments or on Twitter.

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 Photo courtesy of Paramount Pictures

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