Introducing the Rebel Alliance MBA Program

–          Maybe this can be done without spoilers, maybe it can’t. They should be minimal, but if you haven’t seen “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” yet and you don’t want any information, look away.

–          Introducing the Rebel Alliance MBA Program. Do you want to embrace the burden of the masters and resist the dark side? Sure, we all do (extra Sally Struthers).

–          In what is now one of my top Yoda-isms, he tells Luke, “we are what they grow beyond. This is the burden of all masters.” This is the subtle difference between not just good and bad teachers, but good and great teachers (and leaders). You’re not just trying to elevate your students to be another peer, you’re trying to cultivate future masters who will enhance your field/company/project/etc. even further than you were capable of. “We are what they grow beyond” is a mindset to foster both growth and hope. We’ll call this “the burden of the masters.”

–          Who is teaching you? How are they training you in the process of selecting desired outcomes and then executing to achieve them? If you extrapolate the relationship into the future, will you be improving on similar processes someday without them? Who are you teaching? How will you pass these lessons on so they can be passed further?

–          The burden of the masters is not just a mission statement, it also can be viewed as a primary difference between the Sith and the Jedi. There’s a lot to relate to here, because whether you’re working at a startup, or just a cog in a giant corporate machine, you’ll recognize the Darwinian details pretty quickly. These sub-labels are worth exploring. We’re going to think of each in terms of the relationships between students and masters, as well as in the context of society.

–          For the dark side (Sith), the focus is on the strong destroying the weak, with added emphasis on struggling and surviving in a merciless system. A Sith master will exploit the weakness of his apprentice to advance his own position, exert dominance, and when needed – find a better apprentice. The apprentice meanwhile, tries to exploit the weakness of his master to overthrow him.  These relationships play out heavy structure across all Empire society. The dark side is purely the kill-or-be-killed aspect of Darwin.

–          The light side (Jedi) views everything as balance seeking, and therefore looks to see where help is needed to resume the natural state. The master teaches the student to have an increasingly open mind to the force, not the master individually. The student learns that the force is “bigger” than any master. Taken too directly, this turns to utopian hippy-drivel, but conceptually, this is about individual problem solving for the good of the greater whole. The light side is purely the sex aspect of Darwin.

–          For the dark side, there is a transactional and short-term mind set to survival. The next meal becomes the most important objective. For the light side, there is a transformational and long-term mentality. The next generation becomes the most important objective. If the Sith want to have the whole pie for themselves, the Jedi want everyone to own the pie, so that they can learn to make even more pies later.

–          Who do you have to kill to advance your role? To paraphrase Max Plank, if it (science in his case) advances one funeral at a time, are you perpetually planning funerals to get ahead? How short-term do you have to think to succeed? How does your company/organization/team work to find opportunities and imbalances? Do you actively seek to turn those opportunities into net wins for everyone involved (employees, customers, and maybe even society)? How long-term do you have to think to succeed? Is your objective to own the whole pie, or grow the whole pie?

–          There are more, but let’s stop here for now. The mindset and structure we surround ourselves with matters. The greater mission statement and objectives matter. The time frames matter. But maybe, most importantly, is to realize the value of the label and what it means to be a rebel fighting for the light side.

–          Depending on the situation you are in now, you have choices. You can run/defect like Finn. You can dream and tell the stories to excite others like Temiri Blagg. You can rebel against a leader like Poe did against Vice Admiral Holdo, only to later find out from Leia about the broader plan and her character. It’s as much about a “new” hope as it is about a “last” Jedi, in that these are merely the labels in the system.  There’s a longer game to be played if you want to have a lasting impact. You don’t need perfect starting conditions, you merely need to determination to do the work – that’s the real Rebel Alliance MBA.

–          May the force be with you.

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