Management Lessons from Alien
Work can be a horror story, especially in the mind of Ridley Scott and his film, Alien.
I’m a big science fiction fan. I can’t wait to see Prometheus, the new film by Ridley Scott set in the same universe as his brilliant “Alien” series which starred Sigourney Weaver, a few other somewhat famous people, and a cast of thousands of incredibly vicious, acid dripping, shape morphing aliens who reproduced by implanting their eggs inside the slowest moving human being they could catch.
To get ready for Prometheus, I’m watching some of the original movies. Even though I have seen them many times, it was only today that I realized there are some very good management lessons in these films. Here’s a list of the common traits exhibited by the employees at the Weyland-Yutani Corporation.
Employees will do anything to get out of the office, including being stuffed into a small freezer chest and frozen like a pack of Oscar Meyer wieners and then flown to the outer reaches of the Milky Way. They don’t even get iPods or piped in music. The office must really suck.
Most employees at The Weyland-Yutani Corporation don’t follow instructions well. They keep wandering off and getting killed by the aliens. This tends to make succession planning a very complicated process.
The bosses at Weyland-Yutani are all gutless, greedy bastards.
There is no OSHA in space, no union stewards, and nothing remotely resembling risk management. This makes it necessary for a flexible dress code that includes guns, wrenches, and a willingness to embrace the grimy sweaty survival look usually seen in Rambo films.
In space, no one can hear you scream, which means that communication inside the workplace is very bad since all the employees do is scream.
There seem to be far more flame throwers in space than fire extinguishers. This is actually a good thing in the Alien world of work.
The male employees are all cowards, schemers, or liars. The only guy you can trust to do the right thing is the cyborg dude.
The female employees kick ass and take names, which sounds like a lot of the women I know who work in HR.
You should feel free to unleash your Inner Ripley.