What Comic Book Super Heroes Teach Us about Business
Welcome to Barry’s Bite, a weekly article series from Barry Moltz, host of Business Insanity Radio. This week Barry shares with us the lessons we learn from Super Heroes about business that we didn’t even realize.
Though I’m a huge movie fan, I haven’t been much of a comic book reader since I was 12. The stream of 40-year-old Marvel comic book heroes who have been brought to life on the movie screen made me realize what each of them has to teach us about business. Here are a few:
Peter Parker’s alter ego, Spiderman, constantly reminds the public that “with great power comes great responsibility”. He even gives up the girl for it!
A business owner is responsible for their employees every day. They need to understand the power they have with their customers, vendors, and peers. With every Facebook post or tweet, the company has a duty to understand the effect it has on its overall community.
In this story, there are mutants born with strange powers. Some of the mutants want to take over the world while others want to live in peace.
This is similar to people inside a company; wherever people are different, many times it is difficult for them to get along. This always gets in the way of building a strong company.
I always amazed when I had 30 people in a single office, they would find the silliest ways to separate themselves. It wasn’t always the traditional company divisions: things like the salespeople disliking the marketing people or the finance group at odds with the operations team. It took a different twist. The people in the back of the office didn’t like the people in the front of the office because they liked the heat on too high, played their music too loud or kept their desks messy. The strangest arguments started that I could never predict or prevent.
If people are to work together as a team, they must accept these differences. While every employee does not have to like every other one, they need to be able to respect what they contribute to the organization.
Bruce Banner finds himself transformed into the Hulk, a powerful green beast. This happens only during times of stress and anger when his repressed rage comes out.
Many business owners feel a little green when they get angry.
This is reminiscent of how people act when their emotions get the best of them in a business situation. How do they react under stress? It is easy to be in a business when things are going great. A business owner’s skills are truly tested when things are going poorly.
Matt Murdock was blinded by radioactive waste from a vehicle’s payload when it splashed onto his eyes. He soon realized that his handicap had heightened his other senses to a super human degree. Using sound, he now tracks down criminals with these new powers to avenge his father’s death.
All companies have handicaps. They are good at some things and bad at others. It is their responsibility to figure what they are best at to beat the competition.
Marvel Comics has more than 4,700 super heroes in its collection. There is a lot to learn.
Barry is a nationally recognized expert on small business who has given hundreds of presentations to audiences ranging in size from 20 to 20,000. As a member of the Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame, he has also taught entrepreneurship as an adjunct professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology. He has appeared on many TV and radio programs such as CNBC’s The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch, MSNBC’s Your Business and NPR’s The Tavis Smiley Show. He hosts his own radio show, Business Insanity Talk Radio, and writes regularly for the American Express Open Forum, and Forbes.com.
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