Do or do not, there is no try. – Yoda

Yoda as business leadership inspiration? Yes.

I love Yoda. All that courage, wisdom, will, and power tucked into that small, frail-looking character just grabs me. The scene where he is teaching his student to do more than he believes he can do, inspires me. Don’t just try to do it…do it. Throw yourself into your task and accomplish everything you can. Trying is thought and wish, doing is action and success. What an inspiring message!

Yoda isn’t your typical superhero. He’s not big and muscle-bound. He’s not handsome or smooth-talking, and he’ll never capture the heart of the heroine. Yet he remains one of the most memorable, identifiable characters in the Star Wars movies. Over twenty-five years after his first appearance on screen, so many people around the world still remember his face, voice, and lines. He touched us.

He is the teacher who pushed Luke to succeed and achieve. The handsome young athletic hero schooled by a wizened little alien with an odd accent and a crusty manner. In a small body, Yoda has great power and the wisdom to use it carefully and thoughtfully. A Jedi master who can move tons of metal and accomplish great feats with the power of mind and will by himself, Yoda still has the patience and wisdom to let a student fail at a task in order to teach him a lesson. Another lesson is learned when Yoda rescues the failed project: People are often more than they seem from the outside.

Despite being focused on the greater battle between good and evil, Yoda doesn’t forget what others might see as small details. He worries that youth, impulse, and anger will damage not just their cause, but damage young Luke, too. One of the big players and a powerful Master, Yoda is concerned that one boy will lose his way and be harmed. Yoda reminds us that it’s important to keep sight of the forest and the trees. You have to succeed, but not at the cost of those who work with and for you.
Is Yoda really a professional role model for a business leader? I think so. Working for Yoda wouldn’t always be comfortable, but you would grow as a person, succeed at many things, and be valued as an individual, too. Sounds like a great leader to me.

What are your thoughts?

Kristi Pavlik