How corporates are using Squid Game to reflect on their business lives

By Melissa Stewart, Channel NewsAsia

It turns out that there are several business lessons one can glean from the Korean thriller series, and LinkedIn can’t stop talking about it.

BY NOW, you’ve likely finished binge-watching Squid Game. The Netflix hit series is the talk of the town, with rising conversation on social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter and TikTok.

More surprisingly,Squid Game fever has even reached professional networking site LinkedIn, with many corporates sharing their reflections on business and career lessons gleaned from the show.

For one, the story of how writer Hwang Dong-hyuk had the script for Squid Game for over 10 years but was rejected by studios, investors and actors has resonated with the LinkedIn community.

“In the greatest achievements of the world, no important endeavour required innovation was done without risk. Rejection has to always be an option in art, in creation and in exploration, because it is risky and requires a leap of faith. So no matter who you are – an artist, a creator, or an entrepreneur – remember that failure and rejection are always options – but fear is not,” a post by Christel Quek, co-founder of Bolt, read.

Others have picked up lessons from the show’s (very bloody) childhood games.

“The first game played in the first episode of Squid Game, the Red Light Green Light, can be related to a simple and easy continuous improvement tool: Traffic Light Assessment. It focuses on three levels: Red (stop), yellow (caution), and green (continue). The company can quickly identify good and poor performance, and the management can make appropriate decisions to achieve the best performance for the organisation,” wrote consultant Melvin Chong.

Adeel Khan Durrani, an engineering specialist, shared his reflection on each of the games that took place on the show:

“1) Red Light – Green Light: Be Productive
Moving fast is not important, moving forward is. When fast is fatal, stop, think, re-evaluate and move with a plan.

2) Honeycomb: Be Dynamic

Dare to challenge conventional methods. To survive, prepare to think outside the box.

3) Tug of War: Be Agile

Strong players don’t make great teams. Decisive leaders with a vision and strategy often do.

4) Marble Game: Be Empathetic

Kindness goes a long way. Compassion and empathy would always drive better results.

5) Glass stepping stones: ‘Culture eats strategy for breakfast’

Learning from mistakes is crucial – from one’s own and from other’s. Making the same mistakes can be costly. Strong organisational cultures steer people to make the most of their mistakes.

6) Squid Game:

Understanding competitive advantage is critical, including your people, their strengths, the processes, your methods and technology. In the face of fierce competition, be on the offence to utilise it fully.”

One thing’s for sure – Squid Game is more than a dark, compelling survival game series that entertains. It also encapsulates different life and business lessons that can be practiced and applied in the real world too

Top: South Korean thriller series Squid Game is set to become Netflix’s biggest show. Photo: AFP and published by CNA

Insert: Screen grab: Squid Game. Photo: CNA

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