Learn From The Living Dead To Be A More Effective Team

The movie “Warm Bodies” is about a teenage zombie falling in love. Do we really want zombies to be more human or should it be the other way around?

No one loves Zombies, they eat us after all, and have you ever tried to have a meaningful conversation with one? The words “one-sided” come to mind. Get past the glazy-eyed, nonchalance and dead to see how being more like them can make you a more successful team. Here’s how:

1.Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish

Apart from my son after rugby training, I don’t think there is any doubt, zombie guys and girls are the most eager to getting fed at any cost. They don’t eat. They die. Steve jobs may have summed it up nicely in his Stanford Speech in 2005 but Zombies have, since 1932 with the movie White Zombie,  shown us why it is important to stay hungry  and never quite satisfy that hunger; constantly wanting more all the time no matter what you look like. It is all about survival. Who cares what you look like when you eat anyway?

2. Perform as a cross-functional team

Zombies don’t care who they work with. What they care about is working together as a team to get the job done. Have you ever seen a zombie be dis-loyal or mis-understand the task at hand? There is always a clear shared understanding. You’ll never see a zombie take their time to have a cup of tea or take a fag (cigarette) break before finishing a job? When food is the reward, you need to work together as a team to survive at any cost; nothing should get in your way.

3. Fail fast, Fail often

Zombies are simple so they fail at the smallest of hurdles. But do they give up? Nope. They keep on trying till they die, usually in quite spectacular fashion.  Lean Startup, “Build, Measure, Learn” cycles and Lean UX, validation through experimentation aren’t going to be covered here in detail. My advice is to always have an assumption or two that you want to test and go out and test them on unsuspecting people in the wild. Zombies know how to pivot when the time is right, usually it is because they trip up and end up going in a different direction by accident, but that’s ok. They are a persistent bunch and usually get what they want. Try a related idea or a different approach to solve problems that get you stumped.

Here are some related links to help you appreciate the Living Dead just that little bit more (p.s. for you unbelievers there is a technical UX one at the end!):

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