Posted on March 19, 2010 by Colin

Building a Vader-less Empire

 

I find that in most situations I would much rather be the upstart underdog than the well-entrenched incumbent.

I like to be dynamic and nimble, and generally if you are the Empire and your opposition is the Rebellion, you’ve got far too many of your resources tied up in paying staff, keeping track of your massive holdings, and building Death Stars.

Ah, the Death Star. A wonder of technology, in that it could blow up planets with a single shot. Truly amazing, and something that only a super-power like the Empire could have built.

Then again, the Death Star had some massive flaws. It took a long time to power up before being able to fire its primary weapon. It was also relatively easy to sabotage from the inside by a group of prisoners.

Most glaringly, though, it had an enormous weakness that led to its destruction: a vent that led straight to the main reactor, which if blown up with some space torpedoes, would detonate the entire moon-sized craft.

This is not a mistake that only an enormous organization like the Empire would make, but it is the product of bureaucratic-ineffectiveness, something that tends to happen more in larger organizations.

And therein lay a major advantage for any group that is versatile enough to de-structure their company or organization. The Rebellion had a hierarchy, sure, but each branch was capable of being entirely self-sufficient for the entire lifetime of their cause.

If Luke would have had to get sign-offs on his decisions, he never would have found out that Darth Vader was his father…he wouldn’t have made it past the first movie. In many cases executive decisions are best made from the ground, and Luke, Leia, Han, even Chubaka made decisions based on the best data available at the time: theirs.

It’s not like they were anarchists running around willy-nilly, accidentally saving the known-universe. There was a method to their madness, and though they did a lot of the heavy-lifting themselves, they did keep the Rebellion updated and made sure that others could then act upon that new knowledge.

They up-ended the power structure and in doing so altered the fate of billions.

So come on large, over-bearing, over-structured companies! This isn’t new information!

It’s from a long time ago, even if it was in a galaxy far, far away.