Archive | December, 2010

Leadership Lessons from an 80s Cartoon

8 Dec

If anyone used to watch He-Man and the Masters of the Universe and She-Ra: Princess of Power growing up, perhaps you wondered why Skeletor was always trying to conquer Eternia and Castle Grayskull with it while his mentor, Hordak, had already conquered and enslaved the population of Etheria. There’s at least one possible, obvious explanation. But that isn’t it.

The obvious explanation is that Hordak was Skeletor’s mentor and trainer. Hordak was grooming Skeletor to eventually command a world under the Horde’s control.

Anyone familiar with the back story knows that Skeletor was stranded on Eternia and Hordak left (with Princess Adora) to conquer another world, probably before Skeletor’s training was complete. It therefore stands to reason that Skeletor doesn’t know all of Hordak’s secrets, and that is why Hordak has succeeded where Skeletor hasn’t.

But I don’t think that’s the reason for Hordak’s success. I believe the real secret is in his minions. Pay attention: this is a lesson that every manager needs to learn.

When we look at Skeletor’s main set of evil warriors, what do we see? Beast Man, who is total imbecile only for comic relief. Trap Jaw, the wizard of weapons, lacks any originality or capacity to think for himself. Mer-Man, is helpless outside of water.

Of all of Skeletor’s minions, only Evil-Lyn is competent and able to hatch an original villainous plot.

Look over at Hordak’s side. Only Mantenna and Grizzlor are unable to hatch an original villainous plot. Everyone else can!

Catra is a force to be reckoned with; she took over Adora’s role as force captain when the latter defected to the Great Rebellion. Scorpia may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, but she is still a capable enemy. Leech and Mantenna can carry a plot out when they team up. Modulak is the consummate mad scientist; too bad Skeletor lost him to Hordak. And Hordak’s second-in-command, Shadow Weaver, is evil to the core and a terrible sorceress with awesome power–she probably carried the most episodes outside of Hordak himself.

The results speak for themselves. Hordak has enslaved every kingdom on Etheria except for Bright Moon (which he lost in the movie that introduced She-Ra). Skeletor commands only Snake Mountain, and that because Hordak had originally used it as a base of operations during a failed invasion of Eternia.

The lesson? Watch who you’re hiring! If you hire as Hordak did, you will conquer the planet. (Hopefully you won’t enslave all of the kingdoms, though.) If you hire as Skeletor did, you’ll be stuck with miserable, lonely Snake Mountain, always trying conquer Grayskull but never quite getting there. Wisely hire strong recruits who are good fits with your existing team, and you’ll be the Master of the Universe!