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IT Toolbox: Lessons from Star Wars: Do you work for Darth Sidius?

The Sharp Ninja
・3 min read

The transformation of Anikan Skywalker to Darth Vader can be summed up to office politics. Anikan is a superstar, and as such he's attracted attention, both good and bad, from people of power and influence in his workplace. This happens to all superstars, regardless of their profession. Superstars are given the most difficult tasks, and often they have to go off and do them alone or with a minimal team that simply are along for the ride to ensure that the superstar doesn't get bogged down by ancillary problems. Let the superstar deal with the hard stuff and the capable sidekicks can keep the peace and create the environment in which the superstar flourishes. But eventually the superstar must make hard choices that affect everyone. Politics must be played to get the resources necessary to get the job done. The future must also be accounted for, so some sacrifices today will seem worthwile in the future. But the devil is in the details. Playing politics requires gaining the eyes and ears of someone of influence. If that person is a follower of the Dark Side, then you may not know it until you're at the pivotal point of following or loosing the help you so desperately need to keep from failing. Dogma. Hyperbole. Exaggeration. Maybe, but most melodrama is rooted in reality. We all know Lucas loves technology and that he trusts it more than humans to do thing. He's obviously very political as well, and so his blending of politics, conflict and technology seems so completely normal for almost any person working in IT. As with all melodramas, there's an underriding moral that drives the whole thing, and in the case of Star Wars that moral is that even the greatest superstars can become what they hate most while trying to serve those they love. Be careful of offers that are too perfect since the cost of perfection is too high. Another theme from Star Wars and the fall of Anikan Skywalker comes from his jealousy of not being given his due respect and title out of fear and doubt from those who fear superstars instead of embracing them. If the Jedi Council gives him the title of Master Jedi, when that is obviously what he is, then does Darth Sidius have any chance of convincing the frustrated superstar that he should turn to the Dark Side? There's a warning in here to middle management about glass ceilings and trying to force the same old promotion path on people of all talent levels. Just because something hasn't been done before doesn't mean it shouldn't be done. Letting the enemy steal your superstars can be a very, very dangerous thing to do, so if you have to be a bit creative to keep your superstars happy then it may be the wise thing to do. If you haven't seen Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith, I highly recommend that you do so. This movie should be required viewing for anyone in political science or business management since so many of the events and characters can be found in almost any organization. It's simply a perfect melodrama of the reality of the times we live in, and there's lessons to be learned about the other side regardless of your political leanings.


Feel free to elaborate or relate in the comments area below. If you've seen the movie and work for practically any organization you've probably seen or participated in such power struggles, so please share!

The opinions expressed in this blog are not necessarily those of my employer.

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