If we were to do a forensic deep dive into the nine Star Wars movies or the three trilogies, every one of the Harappa Habits of Think, Solve, Communicate, Collaborate, and Lead will find their mark in the way the story plays out and the characters act out. On the occasion of Star Wars Day, we have mapped three Habits to some of our beloved characters and situations from the Star Wars franchise, an American space opera created by George Lucas.
At Harappa, we believe strongly in the power and impact of excellent communication. And I’m sure you’ll agree, there are a few different skills in this mix: listening, reading, writing, speaking and even non-verbal cues. You’re probably wondering what Star Wars has to do with effective communication.
A lot, actually. Look at one of the film’s most iconic characters, Chewbacca, also known as Chewie. The furry alien is a seven-foot-tall, 200-year-old Wookie warrior who merely grunts and growls through many scenes that you wonder how he gets understood. But Chewie’s feelings are always, always known because he truly epitomizes the power of nonverbal communication. A simple hug and ‘arrggghh’ when he’s reunited with Han Solo at the beginning of Return of the Jedi is quite enough to know how he feels. It’s a small gesture but speaks volumes.
Among the most famous on-screen duos are C-3PO and R2-D2, two lovable droids, one of whom communicates in English, mind you. Together, they’ve been involved in some of the galaxy’s most thrilling battles, built endearing friendships with Leia, Luke and Obi-Wan; and broken scenes with the best of humor. All through a combination of C-3PO’s spoken words and R2-D2’s ‘Droidspeak’ (mostly beeps).
Communication is all about reading the cues! Just like your parents have ‘a look’ when you’re in trouble or your partner’s demeanor tells you their state of mind; you’re still able to communicate effectively with them because you pick up on these things.
Building strong networks, establishing trust-rich relationships, and negotiating like a pro are the crux of effective collaboration. At Harappa, we believe if you’re a great team player, that’s half the battle won. And everything about Star Wars is really about collaboration: humans, droids, Wookies, Luggabeasts, and all.
Like many stories, Star Wars also has good guys (The Resistance) and bad guys (The Empire). And… you guessed right, The Resistance always wins. The Empire is entrenched in bureaucracy. You’ve got the scary Emperor at the top, Darth Vadar who executes his command, and nasty Storm Troopers who inevitably get caught in the crossfire of manipulation and poor decision-making.
The Resistance, on the other hand, encourages independent thinking and allows for more agility. Authority is diffused and, therefore, their organization thrives on everyone’s thinking and working together. Doesn’t matter if you’re Leia, Poe, Finn, or BB-8—everyone’s got their part to play.
Thinking together, working together, and playing off each other's strengths is a sure-fire route to success. Don’t try and do everything on your own; that’s half the battle lost before you’ve even begun.
A lot of Luke Skywalker’s journey in the early part of Star Wars is linked to Harappa’s Lead habit. In order to become a Jedi and a true leader, Luke has to fight many of his own interferences, define and identify his values and find his Ikigai. Once he defines his purpose—to rid the galaxy of the evil emperor and Darth Vadar and to train hard to be a Jedi—he starts to take steps in the right direction.
But leading yourself is never easy.
In The Empire Strikes Back, Luke hunts high and low for Yoda and when he finds the Jedi master in the swamp world, he gets Yoda to take him on as an apprentice. He claims he wants to learn from the Jedi master, but the truth is that Luke has no confidence in his potential and, therefore, any internal or external interference is enough to stop his progress.
Harappa’s Leading Self course talks about why your Performance is a sum total of your Potential minus Interferences.
In Luke’s case, even the greatest Jedi master is helpless before a student who won’t listen or believe in his own potential.
To fully understand the relationship between Performance and Potential, Luke needed to understand and identify the Interferences or what stopped him from improving his Performance. It was only when he was able to keep his fears and misgivings aside or subtract them from his Potential that he took his first steps towards becoming Jedi.
Luke also had to learn to deal with the setback that Darth Vader, the enemy he has been searching for was his father. In spite of Master Yoda’s advice to not go flying off to confront Vadar, Luke goes charging off anyway and falls into the trap. He ends up losing a hand and gaining a father, all of which further messes with his mind. It takes a lot of help from his mentor-teacher Yoda, for Luke to embrace this setback, develop grit, and be resilient enough to lead the fight against the evil emperor and Darth Vadar eventually.
Shantha and Seema are Star Wars fans who agree that the Machete Order works best if you've never seen Star Wars trilogies before.
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