Blending Star Trek Learnings into Our Core Values

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A closeup shot of a section of a model of the USS Enterprise from Star Trek

As a child, I, like many, grew up with space on my mind.  There were many versions of “space” in those days.  From the technologically fused spirituality of Star Wars to the stark reality of NASA’s efforts with the shuttle program, my formative years were heavily influenced by X-wings, Saturn V’s, visits to space museums, and endless nights gazing at the heavens.  I desperately wanted to “trod the high untrespassed sanctity of space.”  (John Gillespie Magee)  And then life happens and we set aside childhood dreams for the cold reality of Earth!  All of those things stick with me though and I find that I can now look back at the lessons I learned during those times and see how they impact my life today.  A great example is Star Trek, that delightful show of the ’70s that turned into a media empire that persists today.  Star Trek is a series that has literally spanned my life and provided lessons that I can still clearly relate to XSELL’s core values. 

Best Chapter Yet

Can anyone say that the crews of the various starships in Star Trek were not living their best lives?  I certainly cannot.  Star Trek showed us that hard work and passion would lead to better outcomes and more perfect knowledge.  Truly, the crews of those starships were dedicated to living their best lives.  But our Best Chapter is not just about us, it is also about how we lift the team and those around us. Those starship crews were teams before anything else.  Data might find some order from his captain illogical, but at the end of the day, he knew that the team came first and that his captain was always looking out for the greater good.  That is truly a wonderful chapter to which to aspire.

Do It the XSELL Way

Did someone say inclusion and striving toward a common goal?  Star Trek had that in spades.  Every episode and movie swirled around the crew’s common goals.  Sometimes it was a personal goal like Data’s quest to understand the human condition, and sometimes it was a massive goal, like defending Earth against the Borg.  Whether that goal was big or small did not matter, the crews would jump in to assist and make the “mission” their own regardless of race, sex, or even species!  The original series’ cast followed the principles of Gene Roddenberry’s idea of “infinite diversity in infinite combinations.”  It is an ideal that is hard to achieve, and the show did fall short sometimes, but an idea that is worth pursuing with all our hearts.

Open for Business

Was anyone on Star Trek not “Open for Business?!”  Was there ever a crisis where a crew member said “I can’t” when a Captain called for help?  Ok, Scotty would say “I’m giving her all she’s got, Captain!” before continuing to find a little more, or to try that one next thing.  They were always willing to learn more, to understand more, and striving to pitch in wherever it was needed.  If someone had a skill or knowledge to help, they did so, regardless of if it was their “job” or not.  At the same time, they respected each other’s individual skills and understood that everyone has a role to play on the team.  Truly the crews of those starships were open for business in ways that I only partially understand today. 

Conversations Happen in the Room

The scene is common.  A captain and his staff sitting in a conference room.  A starfield streams by outside the viewport and weighty decisions are being made.  Decisions that could impact the ship, the crew, or even the galaxy as a whole!  There is the crew, calmly discussing, disagreeing, and coming to a consensus about the next action.  In the end, the crew acknowledges the captain’s orders and sets about executing them to the best of their considerable abilities.  What is even more striking is that regardless of the outcome, there were never “I told you so’s” or blame.  The conversations were had, and the plan moved forward.  When more conversations were needed, they were had again.  We could all do with that reminder from time to time!

Know Us By Our Results

That elusive “say do factor” was always on display in Star Trek.  Crew members worked hard to accomplish their tasks.  They pitched in to help others when needed.  They selflessly put the needs of the mission before their own needs.  Now, no one expects that fully in the business world, but what a statement towards results Star Trek made. In each episode or movie, some problem was identified, a solution was devised, and the team raced forward to solve it together. Because as Captain Kirk said, “I don’t believe in a no-win scenario…”   

As the biblical saying goes, there is a time when we must all put aside childish things.  My Star Trek toys (I was a huge fan of the die-cast ships) are long gone today.  Yet, those learnings remain in my subconscious.  I am no Picard-like leader and yet his messages resonate in my life and impact how I interact and approach problems.  I still look fondly on the hours I spent with those starship crews, absorbing wonderful and life changing messages that I have not recognized or acknowledged the impact of until decades later – and yet, at the end of the day this nerd could ask for nothing more.  May you live long and prosper.

Drew Conrad
Drew Conrad

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