One of wrestling’s biggest annual events, in the form of WrestleMania, has come and gone for the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment Inc.) and its fans. For decades, the company that produced stars like Hulk Hogan, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, Shawn Michaels, The Rock and John Cena have generated content in and around wrestling matches.
It’s baffling to think that people in their underwear body slamming each other has grown into a business, let alone the WWE, a publicly traded company that has reached billion dollar heights. From the industry that has mastered the chokehold and takedown, they have got more than just their moves down to a science. Whether or not you’re a wrestling fan, there’s a thing or two that we can take from the ring into the office that won’t lead to a physical altercation or HR violation.
1. Most problems can be solved with better communication
WWE’s wrestling is like an extreme, choreographed dance. The participants make sure the wrestling is as realistic as possible while avoiding injury. There has to be great communication involved if you want to avoid unpleasant and awkward results.
The importance of communication can be compared to the expectations on a joint project, terms in a contract or clarifying order dates. While being misaligned may not necessarily lead to the next screwjob, the execution of a plan, and the sanity of parties involved, are much better off when they are more informed with each other’s goals. Speaking of which,
2. Talent and ability are only half the battle—execution is golden
Bret Hart a.k.a. the “Excellence of Execution” was known for his technical ability in executing moves that look painful, and might as well hurt, but ultimately did not injure partners in the ring. Other wrestlers don’t have the same ability and despite communicating the plan, still incur undesirable results. Some “just” suffer a concussion while still getting the job done. Others are left with a broken neck and lose years of their career because of a partner’s mistake.
You can have the greatest plan in the world but if it is not executed properly then it can be very costly in time, effort, and more importantly for companies, money.
3. Make your personal brand indispensable
Knowing how to wrestle is the bare minimum. Odds are that the wrestlers fans remember are ones that won them over with some creativity. From the trash talking poetry of The Rock to the “good guy” character of John Cena, wrestlers need to come up with ways to make the fans care enough to “put some butts in the seats,” and buy company-related products. If a wrestler is making the company money by their drawing power, it makes him/her even more indispensable for the company.
Employee need to figure out a way to make themselves irreplaceable to their company. Whether that means developing new skill sets that only a select few can do or establishing a good working reputation that says you can be trusted to make the company better; always think about making it difficult for the company to let you go.
Bonus: Tell a story and make them want to know more
The WWE took the idea of two people wearing spandex and headlocking each other, blended it with the importance of communicating and executing a narrative with the use of the personal brand billed up by it’s wrestlers, and told stories worth millions.
In the late 90’s the WWE told the narrative of the indignant employee who “whipped” his boss’ ass after years of mistreatment. This is more popularly known as Austin vs. McMahon; this story helped that helped the company oust its competition in the ratings “war.”
Whether you’re presenting a proposal or interviewing with your resume in tow, try your best to tell a story and make your stakeholders care about what you’re saying. Give them a reason why they should accept your plan or take you in because of the (true) story you just told.