Career Testing
Career Testing
Career Testing
COMPANY CULTURE / DEC. 21, 2014
version 3, draft 3

What Guardians of the Galaxy Can Teach Us About Teamwork

Explosions, space-ships and talking raccoons tend to bring out the inner 9 year old in everyone. Add more explosions, lasers and green people and you have some solid ingredients for an enjoyable block-buster. Guardians of the Galaxy primarily revolve around the main character Peter Quill and his motley crew of space rejects; an unlikely team that can teach us a thing or two about teamwork in the workplace.

Rocket and Groot

This next description is probably going to sound like a fever dream to anyone who hasn’t seen the movie. Groot is a humanoid-tree bounty hunter that can only say ‘I am Groot’ voiced by Vin Diesel. His companion is a genetically altered walking smart-aleck raccoon named Rocket. The only ‘person’ that can understand Groot is Rocket. Watch the movie it’ll make more sense.

Groot and Rocket are a great example of a well-established team that is exceptionally good at convening abstract ideas to each other with great effectiveness. The stage from idea to implementation is greatly truncated due to this uncanny ability for communication. This dynamic duo is an invaluable part of any team. Added bonus? They also bicker like an old married couple when they work together which can be quite entertaining.

Loosey Goosey Leadership

Every team needs a leader, someone that bridges multiple personalities (that in many cases clash, and in the movie they do) and motivates members towards achieving a common goal. Quill, the main character of the movie (and the unofficial leader until the end), allows every member to use their unique skills and personalities and trusts them to implement those skills effectively. He only interjects, when a team member is in need of assistance. Sure I don’t expect my supervisor to come after me as I unconsciously float through space, but then again I avoid the vacuum of space during my day to day dealings.

The Team will find a way

If your crew is well put together, and correctly motivated you might be in the pleasant position to see it self-regulating. At one point in the movie the muscle of the team Drax (a herculean green-blue alien with red tattoo-scars) goes up against way too many foes. Just to avoid any unnecessary spoilage of the plot let me just say he should’ve prioritized something else and was reprimanded by Rocket (the space raccoon) because of it. Although under normal circumstance Drax would have smashed said reprimand-er into a furry red stain, he instead univocally agreed that he had messed up. If your group has imbibed the goal as their own, your scraggly team of non-space cubicle dwellers will in effect manage themselves, all you have to do is keep them on point and motivate them.

Diversify

A diverse group will be more likely to approach and solve a diverse set of problems. Diversity is an age old group-movie paradigm (that works in the real world too). In our case you’ve got the tech guy, the assertive powerful woman, the muscle, the muscle 2 and the leader. That way they cover every possible obstacle that they may come up against. As the G.O.G. try to escape prison they use every single person to their full potential: Drax and Gamora take out tons of armed guards, Groot protects Rocket as he tries to hack the guard post and the leader gets a job that turns out to be a joke. That is in no way directed at any supervisor of mine, it’s in the movie, and I didn’t write the screenplay. I would have my supervisor do a double back-flip out of a flaming house while saving kittens and singe-handily managing the escape and saving everyone. What? I’m not kissing up! How dare you!

Teamwork is crucial for any team composed of Galactic misfits or corporate number crunchers. Was there another message in Guardians of the Galaxy that I might have overlooked? Be my Rocket Raccoon then and let me know in a snarky way in the comment section below.

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