King in the North or King in the Office

In the fictional realm of Game of Thrones, we can learn a lot about being a leader. George RR Martin opened millions up to a magical society that leaves us craving more. Embedded in his daring story are many life lessons that can be applied to our management styles in order to make the office our kingdom. Through my recent binge of the series in preparation for Season 8, I have taken note of 4 lessons that I found important in today’s world. (Warning: Spoilers Ahead)

Lesson 1: Connections are EVERYTHING

cersei

Throughout the series, we meet many of the important families of Westeros, Essos, and Sothoryos. As we near Season 8, the race for the Iron Throne is more important than ever before. In past seasons, we see many examples of how alliances positively affect the individual kingdoms and regions. From alliances through marriage, to connection for trade purposes, connections and alliances keep the world running smoothly. Now, as tensions are rising and Daenerys Targaryen is closing in on Kings Landing to take back the throne, we see how her alliances measure up against those of the Lannister house. An interesting concept that we also see through this race is how available resources is a reflection of how leaders treat their subordinates. In the case of Daenerys, she rules through kindness and fairness and her people respect her as a fair leader and are fighting for a better world. On the other hand, the Lannister family have ruled through fear and violence and now their grip on the kingdom is slowly crumbling. In an office setting, maintaining positive connections like Daenerys and treating coworkers fairly will lead to success. Having a good and supportive attitude will help you further your career and foster lifelong relationships as Jon Snow has done in Season 7 while gathering his diverse army against the White Walkers.

Lesson 2: Identify risks and be prepared for anything

In the magical world of Game of Thrones, we see many prophecies come into play that greatly affect how characters interact in the future. One flashback we see in Season 5 revolves around Cersei as a young girl asking a witch about her future. When Cersei asks her 3 questions, she gets confusing answers that have a dark undertone regarding the fate of her future children. She takes in the information cautiously but is overall content in hearing that her children will be future kings. Later in her life, had she readdressed the prophecy, she may have been able to take precautions to save or prolong the lives of her children. While the risks may not be as serious as real life and death in a business, it is still crucial to prepare for every outcome before making a big decision. It is important to anticipate both positive and negative results and have a plan as to best handle them. As a manager, you never want to be playing catch up in a situation. We saw this mistake with Stannis Baratheon when he tried to take Blackwater Bay and had no backup plan for Tyrian and Tywin Lannister’s plans and suffered a large defeat.

Lesson 3: Progress cannot be made when a company is in turmoil.

Throughout the different lands we see many changes in rulers that more often than not led to a worsened state of the kingdom. For example, when Daenerys arrives in Astapor, one of the three major cities in Slaver’s Bay, she meets with the Good Masters to discuss the Unsullied soldiers. After much debate she agrees to trade Drogon, her dragon, for the army. Once the Unsullied are in her power, she orders them to kill the Good Masters and take the city. After they have been defeated, she frees the Unsullied and asks them if they would fight for her as free men, they unanimously agree. When they arrive in Meereen, Daenerys gives a speech denouncing slavery which upsets the Great Masters. To fight back against Daenerys’ new rules an opposing organization, The Sons of the Harpy, form and they wreak havoc on the city and Daenerys’ army. This whole situation leaves the city in shambles as fighdany targaryanting commences. In the end, Daenerys and the Masters agree to phase out slavery and to not make a radical change to the culture of the area. Although this is an extreme case of turmoil, when everyone was fighting it was impossible to make a decision. Without discussion and compromise, there was no chance of helping the community in trouble. In an office, when there is a misalignment of ideas, it is important to talk it through and find a solution that appeases both sides. In this case, even though Daenerys was right morally, the decision had to help the kingdom move forward as a whole and that could only be achieved by the leaders putting their heads together to come up with a solution.

Lesson 4: Flexibility is the key to success

Flexibility is a universal trait that is necessary in all situations. An important case of flexibility in Game of Thrones comes from Jon’s idea to bring the Wildlings over to the safer side of the wall. Through making this decision, he upset many of the brothers of the Night’s Watch and was eventually killed because of his choice. While rescuing the Wildlings, the White Walkers attacked the settlement and it soon became apparent how necessary the alliance was. By putting tradition aside, Jon saved thousands of lives and strengthened the resistance jon snowat the wall against the White Walkers. In the workplace it is incredibly important to be flexible in what you do. The ability to be flexible and collaborative is highly sought after in the professional world. Moving forward into Season 8, every leader will have to put their differences aside and fight the White Walkers. Without teamwork, the 7 Kingdoms will be doomed and businesses might suffer the same fate in a global economy.

While ruling a kingdom and managing an office have different expectations; by watching the positive leadership tactics presented in Game of Thrones you too can be a good leader. There is a fine line between good and evil but looking at each leader shows you a different strength and style. In the end, it is about making your subordinates respect you for your character and not out of fear. As the wise Tywin Lannister once said to his grandson Joffrey, “Any man who must say “I am the King” is no true King”.

 

 

 

Vineyard Views

A view second to none and grapes that will make your mouth water. Those are the two reasons why I will spend hours upon hours cutting and trimming each branch.

In Italy my grandparents own several pieces of land that contain agriculture such as the one pictured below, which is a vineyard that oversees a beautiful valley. The vineyard is quite big, probably about half an acre of land. Usually during the Summer, since the piece of land is so big, my brother and I help my cousins pick out the good grapes and trim the grape leaves and branches so that the fruit can fully grow and receive light from the sun. Once the grapes are picked we store them in a cool area and then my uncleScreen Shot 2019-04-12 at 4.39.23 PM.png uses them to make his own wine. Fortunately he does not sell the wine because it is not very good.  In addition to trimming the leaves and the branches, we also must spray the grapes with pesticides in order to seduce and then destroy any pest. Although the job is quite difficult, having a beautiful view of the valley makes the job a lot easier. The ideal day for doing all of this would be on a cool day so that the sun is not blazing down on you. The grapes are primarily used for wine but you’d be surprised at how tasty they are. The grapes have seeds, but get past that and you’ll find an unrivaled flavor and concentration. Wine grapes have a rare combination of high sugar and high acid content. It is this combination that gives them an exceptionally intense flavor.  

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The Golden Treasure

unnamedPerhaps you have come across the generic grey and black mushrooms that are sold in your local Stop & Shop but I guarantee you that you have never come across the golden, aromatic and fleshy looking mushroom that shines like an exotic golden flower when observed from a distance. Good looking and golden in taste, the chanterelle mushroom is a delightful attraction for most culinary experts in Europe, the United States and Asia. Not only is the chanterelle mushroom golden looking and golden in taste, it is also golden priced.       

Each Summer my family and I travel to Italy to visit my father’s side of the family. The area my father’s family is from is called Trentino-Alto Adige, which is a region in Northern Italy. The region borders both Switzerland and Austria. The region also encloses part of the Dolomites, a section of the Italian Alps. My grandparents house is surrounded by tall alpine trees and peaking mountains. Knowing the area quite well, I take it upon myself each summer to go mushroom “hunting” for chanterelle’s. I say hunting because it takes many skills, such as concentration and patience. The chanterelle mushrooms are very difficult to

unnamed-1find but they are usually found in mountainous forests among grasses and low growing moss or herbs. If you are not willing to get your hands dirty, then you will be unsuccessful in your hunt because the mushrooms are usually hidden beneath the moss. Although a frustrating and sometimes messy process, the feeling of actually finding the mushrooms is all worth it in the end. Not only can you simages.jpgell them for a good price, usually $10 a pound, but they are also extremely delicious once they are cleaned and sautéed. With that being said, never again settle for your boring Stop & Shop mushrooms! Do some research and find a local market that sells chanterelle mushroomsYou will not be disappointed.

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