Winning career strategies in a workplace from The Walking Dead

The most talked about show on TV, The Walking Dead, returns to British screens on 15 February. Adrenaline-infused, gory and at times heartbreaking, the show has garnered a huge fan-base over the last six years and is promising to ramp up the action still further this spring. But as well as high-octane human drama, the hit series is the source of some surprisingly good advice for anybody interested in boosting their career,
claims a new book published this month. Working With The Walking Dead uses incidents, themes and characters from the show to demonstrate how readers can avoid becoming one of the walker herd at work. Included are these ten tips:

1. Work out your mission: without a goal, work can become mindless toil; witness Abraham’s energy when Eugene tells him he has an important mission for him – and his distress when he discovers it has all been a sham.

2. Pick the right organization: it is much easier to work in a place that shares your approach to career building. Rick’s group is like a family in which everybody is invested, while Joe’s Claimers all aim for individual self-advancement – which doesn’t suit Daryl.

3. Speak up: follow the rules, stick to your job description and don’t ask questions and pretty soon you’ll find you are one of the walker herd. To get noticed you need to take every opportunity you can to show you are thinking creatively and wholly engaged with pushing the business forward.

4. Respect others: Deanna’s inclusive style of leadership makes everybody feel valued. She listens, considers and aims for consensus rather than forcing her views on others, and Alexandria is (OK, was) a peaceful and well-ordered town as a result.

5. Take a break: Rick never allowed himself to stop for a moment. It eventually took its toll on him as he began to hallucinate dead members of his group, including his wife. A lesson for us all on the importance of rest.

6. Love your mistakes: most are not career-fatal. As Deanna says, ‘Some day this pain will be useful to you’, so treat mistakes as learning opportunities. Just make sure you don’t repeat them.

7. Be adaptable: one crucial difference between the show’s survivors and those who failed to make it past the first season is the ability to take changing circumstances in their stride – even benefit from them. Embracing change is the only way to avoid getting left behind in business.

8. Don’t be a bastard: the demise of The Governor, Dawn and the residents of Terminus demonstrates that nasty guys do not finish first. Ambition does not mean destroying everybody in your path: Daryl’s competent, tough, nice – and still around.

9. Dare to be different: don’t think there is only one way to get to the top. Just as, in the safety of Alexandria, Rick yearned for the danger of the outside world, some people are simply not cut out for corporate life. Setting out on your own may be a less sure route to success but that’s all part of the thrill.

10. Walkers aren’t the main problem: our gang’s survival would be easy if all they had to worry about were the undead; it’s the other people who create danger. Careers don’t happen in isolation, so keep an eye on what your ambitious colleagues are doing. By presenting simple business concepts in an entertaining way the book aims to encourage people who may never have picked up a business book before to engage with their careers.

Rebecca Clare is a business editor and publisher. Her previous book, Game of Thrones on Business, was shortlisted for the 2016 CMI Management Book of the Year.