When deciding on what to write for my upcoming Yardstick blog, I was struggling with ideas. So I went back to basics, looked at some of my favourite things and here you have it: “What Jurassic Park can teach you about running your business”.
While most of this article will focus on the original Jurassic Park (and by far the best one), we’ll also be looking at the series as a whole. It’s important to note that these lessons come from many of Jurassic Park’s colossal failures and what they got wrong, as much as any success.
Lesson 1: Plan carefully
While Jurassic Park ended in disaster, there is no doubting the level of planning John Hammond had spent on his venture. Not only was there a plan of what they wanted (a dinosaur theme park) but a long-term vision, too.
The folks at INGEN weren’t satisfied with just playing God, but they wanted to penetrate the merchandise and travel markets, as well as open parks in multiple locations.
This is vital for anything in business, whether it be your plan for the long-term success of your business, or a humble marketing plan for an upcoming project.
When creating a plan, it’s important to have targets to aim for. I’m sure you’ve read countless times about SMART targets (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely). However, there is a reason they’re used so often: they work.
While your targets are (most likely) going to be very different from that of starting a dinosaur theme park empire, it’s important to set your targets. These targets may be:
- Bringing in x number of clients per annum
- Seeing your AUM increase by x%
- Updating your website…
…or anything else at all. No matter how big or small your target is, ensure your targets meet the SMART requirements.
Lesson 2: Build a good team
By now, you may imagine the benefits of having a good team around you and your company goes without saying.
However, as we saw with the devious Dennis Nedry, John Hammond clearly hadn’t hired a reliable team around him.
(For those of you who have missed out on the cinematic masterpiece, Nedry planned to sell secrets to a competitor. He also turned off the security systems, leading to the death of people in the park itself).
Having a reliable team plays a key part in the success of any business. Without a team to implement plans and carry out tasks effectively, even the biggest businesses can fail.
I feel incredibly fortunate I’m able to work with so many skilled employees here at The Yardstick Agency. Thanks to the team around me, I know that the plans we make will be completed to the standard we set ourselves.
Even the best-laid plans will fail without a good team to implement them, so be sure to have the best possible team. It’s also important to develop your team as you, and they, progress.
Providing opportunities for your team’s self-development with training will not only help them but will benefit your clients too.
Lesson 3: Know what to do when things go wrong
While none of us ever want anything to go wrong, unfortunately, things can go awry from time to time. When this happens, it’s important to have processes in place to make sure things can be put right as soon as possible.
In Jurassic Park (and frankly every film in the series), it was clear there was no backup plan for when the proverbial brown stuff hit the fan.
Between having children running around a park with dinosaurs on the loose to cars limited to driving on a track with no access to their own power source (and what appears to be just one person trained to use a firearm on an island full of the greatest predators the world has ever seen) the list goes on.
Having a set process for when things go wrong can help prevent a small mistake leading to a mass failure.
If a mistake does happen, firstly identify what went wrong.
Next, it’s important to find out how the mistake happened to avoid it happening again.
Then, it’s time to work out how to remedy the mistake.
Finally, add steps to the initial process to stop the type of mistake from being made again.
Lesson 4: Know your limits
Whether it’s creating your business or running a project, it’s important to know the limitations; not going for too much too soon.
Instead of starting Jurassic Park with smaller dinosaurs or herbivores, John Hammond and his team dived into the deep end headfirst. While it’s undeniable that Triceratops getting loose would have caused havoc, it pales into insignificance compared to the damage caused by that very famous T-Rex.
Starting within your limits and expanding as your capabilities and resources expand is a much wiser strategy.
Alongside this, ensure you don’t over-promise to your clients as this can only ever lead to disappointment. Instead, ensure that your client knows what to expect. This may be:
- An increase in the value of their investments
- Setting a realistic target age for their retirement
- Saving up for a large purchase
- And many more.
Lesson 5: Don’t introduce dinosaurs into the workplace
This lesson is hopefully obvious enough; dinosaurs x people = dangerous. It’s fair to say that under no circumstances should you introduce an apex predator into the workplace.
Hopefully, these lessons (or the majority of them at the very least) will help you, whether you’re in the process of starting your firm or are simply looking to ensure your next project goes smoothly.
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