A while ago I was introducing a new colleague to our organisation. I tried to explain the complex structure of our organisation in the best way I knew how: analogies.
Caution! A spoiler for game of thrones and a lot of swears!
For some reason (perhaps having just watched the premiere of the new Game of Thrones series: House of the Dragon) I started to reference the different levels of the organisation in Game of Thrones terms.
Having read all the books, and watched the shows based on them, I felt qualified enough to translate the GOT world into our own chains of command.
I sketched out the map of the King (or Kings) and the small council, the lords of the major houses, the lesser houses, the generals and soldiers.
I marked who was what and where in the map our team was located.
A week after I created the map, I started to think about if the picture I had painted of the organisation was accurate in analogy, because there was something bothering me: where do I belong?
I could clearly see where my team was, but where was I?
I’m definitely not on any council, I’m never in any room when decisions are made.
I’m not a lord, I don’t even have an office, I don’t spend a significant amount of time trying to strategies.
I’m not a general because I don’t command anyone, and I’m not a soldier because I don’t do the “battleground” work.
Then it hit me: I’m the damn Dragon!
I’m a tool, a force, a strength. Your flamethrower in the battlefield.
I will be loyal, and trusting, but you need to display strength to get me on your side. And I realised there are tons of Dragons out there, the unsung intrapreneurs who are just trying to make things better. So how do you recognize them?
They will die in battle for you, if you show good leadership
A Dragon will risk it all for their leader if the leader shows strength. If you are an intrapreneur, you need a visionary that treats you with respect and kindness, that will lead your way. It makes no sense to take a lot of arrows for someone who isn’t doing everything they can to keep you out of battle.
A dragon will never expect anything in return
Dragons just do what they do. They show up when you yell. They throw a hissy fit at your command, and then they fly off and eat some cattle without demanding that you promise it a piece of land, or a betrothal to your sons or daughters. A Dragon won’t oblige you in any way, as long as you show it respect.
They do not play politics, like it or not
In their very nature, Dragons are incapable of playing politics. You will never have to wonder if a Dragon is going to go behind your back and collude with your enemies. It won’t spy on your organisation. It won’t quiet quit. It won’t say bad things behind your back. A Dragon will just fly the hell away from you if it has lost respect for you. In worse case, it might come back and burn you because someone else has taken your role. The chances of you not knowing that it’s coming, is extremely slim. After all, they are loyal to the grave.
But, that also means that they are not afraid to burn bridges. To start off with, what is a Dragon supposed to do with a bridge when it isn’t even built to hold their weight.
If you tame them, they will die out.
A Dragon dies out when tamed. If we’ve learned anything in the Game of Thrones universe, keeping Dragons in dungeons shrunk them and broke their spirit. They ceased to exist once they were domesticated. So if you’re a Dragon, never let your wild spirit go. If you have the fortune of having a Dragon, micro managing it do death will just leave your kingdom without a very important resource.
And most dangerous of all, control is an illusion
As witnessed in House of The Dragon, any actual control of a Dragon is an illusion. So before you take one on, keep in mind that they will sometimes do what they do, be a Dragon.
If you recognise yourself in my description, welcome to the skies! It might feel a bit daunting and lonesome, but the view is wonderful up here.