How Business Development is like Game of Thrones – Part 2



As I asserted in last week’s article, roughly two months after the season finale aired of Game of Thrones, I still can’t help but see similarities between the cutthroat environment of the show and the world of business development. The show is about a web of alliances and conflicts among the various parties involved—all of whom are seeking to gain control and power.

Within the world of business development, it is much the same. Various companies are competing against one another for work—each wanting to gain more and more control and power over their sector(s). Within these organizations, individuals are similarly fighting for power and control—some with the company’s interest at heart, and others looking out only for themselves. And within this world, we develop a web of partners and competitors—both at the individual and corporate levels.

In last week’s article, I looked at four of my favorite Game of Thrones characters, drawing parallels to the types of individuals we might come across in our line of business: Peter Baelish, Cersei Lanister, Jon Snow, Brienne of Tarth. I noted the pros and cons associated with each personality, and discussed how best to approach these individuals in the workforce. This week, I’ll do the same for four more of my favorites:
  • Samwell Tarly
  • Sansa Stark
  • Jorah Mormont
  • Arya Stark

Next week I’ll examine Tyrion Lanister, Yara Greyjoy, Jaime Lannister, and Daenerys Targaryen. Then I’ll conclude this mini-series with a final analysis of four more of my favorites: Eddard “Ned” Stark, Margaery Tyrell, Davos Seaworth, and Ygritte.


Samwell Tarly

Game of Thrones Character Analysis. Samwell “Sam” Tarly is characterized by his intelligence, resourcefulness, and loyalty. A self-proclaimed coward, he prefers books over weapons and fears blood and violence. He is highly observant and fond of music and songs.

Myers-Briggs Personality Type. According to Men’s Health, Sam’s Myers-Briggs personality type is INFP, and he would be classified as a Sincere Leader. Individuals with INFP preferences often devise creative solutions to problems while making moral commitments to the things they believe in. They appreciate the opportunity to develop one-to-one relationships.

Individuals with INFP preferences enjoy helping others develop and learn, and they often express their creativity through writing or art making. They enjoy working with people who share their values and prefer doing work that has meaning. They are drawn to flexible organizations where they can work autonomously, but it is important for these individuals to work for an organization that is consistent with their values.

BD Personality: The Small Business Proposal Writer. Because of his moral commitments, Sam would thrive in a small business where he can deeply connect with the organization’s mission. He would excel in the role as a proposal writer, where he could express his creativity through writing and developing graphics concepts. If you have a Samwell Tarly type on your team, take care in communicate the opportunity’s mission to him, and make sure you assign him to proposals that are consistent with his own morals and values.


Sansa Stark

Game of Thrones Character Analysis. Sansa Stark is characterized by her ability to learn, grow, and adapt to survive in cutthroat environments. To achieve her end goals, she develops and maintains strategic relationships with both her enemies and her allies. Though her power is often underestimated, she grows to be a respected leader with strong negotiation skills.

Myers-Briggs Personality Type. According to Men’s Health, Sansa’s Myers-Briggs personality type is ESFJ, and she is considered what they call a Sensitive Leader. Individuals with preferences for ESFJ tend to be sociable and outgoing. They understanding what others need and express genuine appreciation for their contributions. They collect the necessary facts to help them make decisions and enjoy defining helpful procedures.

These individuals work best in an environment that fosters a family-like and harmonious atmosphere. They enjoy interacting closely with customers and colleagues and communicating the value of a product, service, or project. They are often the rule makers and rule followers. They tend to help others by providing immediate, practical support.

BD Personality: The Sharp Small Business Director of Capture. The family-like, harmonious culture is ideal for a Sansa Stark type personality. But she is also extremely sharp and gritty, and she will work to prove herself in the most cutthroat of careers. She demonstrates the necessary leadership skills to guide her small team in achieving great successes. Her strategic relationships with both teammates and competitors will further support a thriving business. Sansa is a friendly and sociable leader, who like Samwell, is very easy to work with. She is a great asset to her BD team.


Jorah Mormont

Game of Thrones Character Analysis. Jorah Mormont is characterized as a skilled warrior with strong loyalties. He is portrayed as a resourceful survivor, doing what is necessary to get by. However, his stubbornness sometimes gets him into trouble.

Myers-Briggs Personality Type. According to Men’s Health, Jorah’s Myers-Briggs personality type is ISFJ, and he is considered what they call a Thoughtful Leader. Individuals with ISFJ preferences are extremely patient, applying common sense and experience to solving problems for other people. They are responsible, loyal, and traditional and enjoy serving the needs of others and providing practical assistance.

Individuals with ISFJ preferences enjoy a sense of belonging at work and like to work with people who care about and support each other. They are drawn to roles where their keen observation skills and accuracy are valued. They are compassionate in their approach and often work behind the scenes to get the job done. Jobs typically attractive to ISFJs are those that reward loyalty and a sense of duty.

BD Personality: The Small Business Proposal Manager. Because of his loyal character and preference for a workplace where he feels a sense of belonging, Jorah would also thrive at a small business. His even temperament would help him to solve problems for his team quietly, removing all barriers so that they can successfully develop winning responses. He would do whatever work is necessary behind the scenes to help his team shine. Quietly strong, Jorah is also quite easy to work with. He can be a bit stubborn sometimes, but it’s probably because he is right. A great asset to the BD team, don’t let Jorah’s occasional stubbornness sour your working relationship with him.


Arya Stark

Game of Thrones Character Analysis. Arya Stark is characterized by her feistiness and independent nature. She is headstrong, blunt, and often impulsive. She demonstrates resourcefulness and cunning, and she becomes increasingly ruthless throughout the show. Like her sister, Sansa, she learns to grow and adapt to survive in the most cutthroat of environments. However, she is extremely vengeful, so those to cross her must watch their backs.

Myers-Briggs Personality Type. According to Men’s Health, Arya’s Myers-Briggs personality type is ISTP, and she would fall into the category of what they call a Tactical Leader. People with ISTP preferences tend to enjoy learning and perfecting a craft through their patient application of skills. They can remain calm while managing a crisis, quickly deciding what needs to be done to solve the problem.

People with ISTP preferences like analyzing problems and responding to crises. They enjoy working autonomously and tend to prefer analytical work. They enjoy working alone or alongside a few trusted others. They enjoy their autonomy, finding rules and procedures restrictive. They enjoy mental and physical challenges in their work.

BD Personality: The Tireless Pricing Expert. Incredibly sharp with preferences for analytical work, Arya embodies the personality of a tireless pricing expert. She prefers working alone, patiently applying carefully honed skills to perform the necessary price-to-win analyses for developing a winning price. Knowing that the C-suite will ignore the incredible risk they are introducing by changing one of the rates in the final hour, the tireless pricing expert is adept at remaining calm while managing such a crisis, quickly addressing the problem and pressing forward. But beware of Arya’s dark side. If you cross her, she will quietly plot her revenge, and strike when you least expect it. Take care to stay on her good side, which is easiest to do by staying out of her way!


Final Thoughts
I know I am late to the game with posting this analysis, but I hope you are enjoying this fun little article series, regardless. As I mentioned in the introduction, next week I am going to psychoanalyze Tyrion Lanister, Yara Greyjoy, Jaime Lannister, and Daenerys Targaryen. Any guesses on the business development roles I’ll assign to each?

Written by Ashley Kayes, CP APMP
Senior Proposal Consultant, AOC Key Solutions, Inc. (KSI)
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