5 Things Entrepreneurs Can Learn About Team Building From Harry Potter
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With the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Bloomsbury publishing house went on to hold the world record, clocking in a sales of 11 million books on the release day. J.K. Rowling managed to single-handedly cast a spell on a whole generation of impressionable children and teenagers.
For more than 500 million odd people across all ages, she brought about a shift in their mental paradigm. Suddenly glasses were in vogue, non HP fans became Muggles (in fact, with the exponential increase in the usage of this word, Oxford officially included it ), “witch” was an honorable mention and love had a much more profound meaning.
As an entrepreneur, I am given this advice repeatedly- read, read and, read a little more. Be it non-fiction business books or biographies, they are to help you develop the core of your strategies, teach you from making similar mistakes and ideate. However, the vast technical education presented by these books seemed to miss a certain spirit.
Re-reading the Harry Potter books as an entrepreneur, I realised Rowling unintentionally helped breed a whole generation of innovators. The misfits, the crazy ones, the ones who thought they can change the world with their ideas, were made to feel proud of being different. The immense encouragement found in these books is phenomenal.
Over and above everything, Harry Potter has been about its dramatis personae.
Order of the Phoenix and Dumbledore’s Army were a classic example of diverse team building. There was an ample amount of loyalty, leadership, risk taking capacity, experiences and innovative ideas in every member of these forces, ready to take on the worldly complications.
It is nothing but an inspiration of sorts, on how to materialize a killer team. You may not recall the spells, may forget the names of potions or wands, but what has stayed throughout is the depth and spirit of the characters.
Not many people, actually I doubt anybody, would recommend the Harry Potter series for entrepreneurial purposes. But had the characters been present in real life, it is imperative for you to search or recognise the ones to be “sorted” befitting your startup!
Albus Percival Wolfric Brian Dumbledore, through and through. No guesses there. He is the one who helps set up the foundation of your vision, similar to what Dumbledore did for Harry in his quest to destroy the horcruxes. Your advisor is your mentor. The intellect, reputation, network, not to mention, the awe-inspiring guiding abilities is a real inspiration.
#2. Research and Development
Experimental Hermione is your girl. Brewing a potion in her second year, teaching spells in her fourth and applying complex protective charms by the end of her seventh year, you recognise the kind for this department. Given Hermione’s in-depth research, thirst for knowledge, attention to detail and perfection, albeit with a really high risk taking capacity, her kind is definitely the one.
#3. Business Development
A Remus Lupin is what you should be looking for. Encountering a stressful situation? Your Lupin should have the courage to get back up - composed and undeterred. The calmness exhibited, post his best friend, Sirius Black’s death, was what set him apart for me. Quick witted, smart, mixing with the “pack” and having a smooth approach towards situations, eventually leads to great business deals.
#4. Marketing Team
"WHY ARE YOU WORRYING ABOUT YOU-KNOW-WHO? YOU SHOULD BE WORRYING ABOUT U-NO-POO — THE CONSTIPATION SENSATION THAT'S GRIPPING THE NATION!"
If this person is not afraid to call a spade- a spade, be the innovative rebel in times of crisis and develop fearless strategies leading to branding and sales, she/he is the one. The crazy energy exuded by the Weasley Twins(Fred and George), is not only impulsive, but also highly toxic. So while searching for that manic marketing manager or crazy content writer or that gallant graphic designer, ensure there is a whiff of Weasley in them. Trust me, they can be the ultimate risk takers!
If your team has a technological focus, Severus Snape is a no brainer. Snape chose to stare into the dark abyss and wade through unknown waters for 16 long years, to finally accomplish his goal. Perseverance and patience defines this man, so should the technical team you choose to hire. Intrepid and unconventional at the same time, these guys should be having a strong self belief in disruption beyond ordinaire.
Building a startup is nothing short of creating magic. So why not really have a team full of witches and wizards, sharing the same wavelength as you? These are the ones who will mould your vision into a success against the stoic, experienced “You-Know-Who”’s of this world!