Kirk at Work – Lessons on Leadership from the Final Frontier

Captain James T. Kirk is widely regarded as one of the most iconic and effective leaders in science fiction history. Our staff participated in our own version of Elf on the Shelf with a leadership twist and the the help of quintessential leader, Captain Kirk , who led his crew into the unknown and continued to succeed time and time again. Employees were encouraged to look for Captain Kirk around the office and take a selfie with him. Prizes were awarded to our staff who participated in the form of Gift Certificates to local businesses, Bakers & Hale, Post Commons, Germania Brew House, the Ferguson Burger Bar and Decaro’s. Check out the video we put together from the submissions!

Kirk’s success was no fluke. His style of command demonstrates a keen understanding of leadership and how to maintain a team that succeeds regardless of the obstacles.  Over the course of a week our Training Team shared key leadership lessons that can be taken away from Captain Kirk: Daily lessons included never stop learning, play poker, not chess, and embrace change, among others.

Some of the leadership qualities that were shared are listed below:

  • Never Stop Learning: “You know the greatest danger facing us is ourselves, an irrational fear of the unknown. But there’s no such thing as the unknown– only things temporarily hidden, temporarily not understood.”Kirk’s reputation at the Academy was that of a “walking stack of books” and a passion for learning helped him through several missions. It helps to never stop learning. The more knowledge you have, the more creative you can be. The more you’re able to do, the more solutions you have for problems at your disposal. Sure, you might never have to face down a reptilian alien on a desert planet like Captain Kirk, but you never know what the future holds. Knowledge is your best key to overcoming whatever obstacles are in your way.


  • Play Poker, Not Chess: “Not chess, Mr. Spock. Poker. Do you know the game?”No hate to the game of chess, but chess is often taken too seriously as a metaphor for leadership strategy. For all of its intricacies, chess is a game of defined rules that can be mathematically determined. It’s ultimately a game of boxes and limitations. A far better analogy to strategy is poker, not chess. Life is a game of probabilities, not defined rules. And often understanding your opponents is a much greater advantage than the cards you have in your hand. Playing that strategy with an eye to the psychology of our competitors, not just the rules and circumstances of the game can often lead to better outcomes than following the rigid lines of chess.


  • Embrace the Change: We are often, in our roles as leaders, driven by a passion. It might be a product or service, it might be a way of doing things. But no matter how much that passion burns within us, the reality is that times change. Different products are created. Different ways of doing things are developed. And there will come times in your life when that passion alone isn’t viable anymore. A time when it no longer makes sense to pursue your passion in the same way that you had before. When that happens, no matter how painful it is, you need to embrace the change. That is, change what isn’t working and embark on a new path, even if that means having to live in a Klingon ship for awhile

Final Takeaway – Respect: Kirk has a deep respect for his crew and the people he interacts with. He treats everyone with dignity and respect, and he’s always willing to listen to different perspectives.

Overall, Captain Kirk is an excellent example of a leader who embodies the qualities of courage, vision, adaptability, and respect. His leadership style has inspired countless people over the years and continues to be a model for leaders in all fields.

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