May the 4th be with you! In recognition of Star Wars Day, we wanted to share some insights on planning that we picked up a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.
In this special dual blog post, we’re analyzing the successes and failures of both the Rebel Alliance and the Galactic Empire throughout “Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope.” This post does contain spoilers, so if you haven’t yet seen “Star Wars” and still plan to…well, you’ve been warned.
Far from a disorganized band of malcontents, we feel the Rebel Alliance employs some agile planning strategies. Let’s take a look!
Rebel Alliance Tip #1: Make Your Own Opportunities
Organizations seeking to disrupt an industry can’t always wait for the right moment; sometimes you have to make an opening. The Rebel Alliance actively looked for ways to bring down the Galactic Empire, ultimately intercepting the plans to the Death Star and inspecting them for weaknesses.
Put another way (that doesn’t sound like we’re advocating theft and sabotage!), the Rebellion was intentional about counteracting the legacy organization in their sector by capitalizing on flaws in that organization’s main success strategy. Then, once they found their angle, the Rebels didn’t overanalyze or get mired in decision-making; they acted with agility—and continued to pivot throughout the story as their competitor responded!
Rebel Alliance Tip #2: Value Your Team
Contrast the makeup of the Rebellion with that of the Empire. The Empire’s personnel are faceless stormtroopers, labeled with a number and impossible to tell apart. We see the Empire regularly responding to any threat by throwing people at it, heedless of how many they lose along the way. In short, they trust their superior numbers and industry momentum to win the day.
In the Rebellion, everyone is an individual, with a face, a personality, and an opinion. Each one matters and, in true Connected Planning style, is able to share info across all levels of the organization. Our heroes repeatedly go out of their way to rescue each other from danger and support one another through challenges. We see consistently the value of listening to conflicting opinions, leveraging diverse team member backgrounds, and solving problems through collaboration.
Rebel Alliance Tip #3: Take Risks
It’s never easy being the underdog going up against a dinosaur. Even having made their opportunity and gathered a good team, the Rebels were outnumbered, outgunned, and out of time. Exploiting their competitor’s weakness was still a huge risk, but failing to act would have meant total destruction. Agility and good planning weren’t enough; it took courage and a tenacious focus on their end goal to secure victory.
You Get a Medal
There’s a lot to admire about how the Rebel Alliance secured victory for their people. We can learn a lot from the other side, too. Given what we said about the value of diverse opinions, please also consider checking out 3 Planning Tips from the Galactic Empire, although we can’t guarantee that it’s good advice. Additionally, please share any planning tips you’ve obtained from “Star Wars” in the comments below!
Galactic disclaimer: This post is intended to be a light-hearted, overthought look at the planning efforts found in “Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope” (1977). The advice and the opinions of the Rebel Alliance are fictional and should not take the place of actual planning advice. May the force be with you, always.