The Cutthroat Worlds of Business Development and Game of Thrones - Part 3



As I asserted the last two articles (Article 1, Article 2), 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 the last two articles, I looked at eight popular 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, Samwell Tarly, Sansa Stark, Jorah Mormont, and Arya Stark. 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 conduct a similar analysis of four more favorites:
  • Tyrion Lanister
  • Yara Greyjoy
  • Jaime Lannister
  • Daenerys Targaryen.

Next week I’ll conclude this mini-series with a final analysis of Eddard “Ned” Stark, Margaery Tyrell, Davos Seaworth, and Ygritte. And as you might recall from some of the related LinkedIn conversations, Margaery Tyrell is the character with whom I relate most!


Tyrion Lannister

Game of Thrones Character Analysis. Tyrion Lannister is characterized by his brilliant wit and humor. He leverages his intelligence and family lineage to overcome the many prejudices that he faces. But this constant struggle drives him to be a bit bitter, cunning, and cynical. Despite these somewhat negative traits, he is well read and has a knack for for business and political maneuvering. He is also sympathetic of other outcasts and those who are mistreated.

Myers-Briggs Personality Type. According to Men’s Health, Tyrion’s Myers-Briggs personality type is ENTP, and he would fall into the category of the Innovative Leader. Individuals with ENTP preferences solve problems creatively and are often innovative in their way of thinking, seeing connections and patterns within a system. They enjoy formulating strategy.

These individuals prefer to work in a fast-growing, high-energy environment that supports autonomy and the freedom to think differently and innovatively. They enjoy developing technical solutions to problems and have a verbal fluency that enables them to sell new ideas and opportunities to others. Careers within a wide variety of fields will appeal to them, including those in the creative professions, politics, business management, finance, and engineering.

BD Personality: The Clever Solution Architect. With his love for strategy and innovative mindset, Tyrion makes the ideal solution architect. Extremely smart, he enjoys working in the high-energy environment of proposals, and thrives on pitching his solutions to the team. His witty personality brings a sense of levity to the team. He will look out for the little guy and stick up for those he feels are being mistreated or wronged. His love of alcohol could impede his productivity at times. But even though he may occasionally show up a bit hung-over to your stand-up meetings, he is easy to work with and a critical member of the team.


Yara Greyjoy

Game of Thrones Character Analysis. Yara Greyjoy is characterized by her strength, ferocity, and commanding leadership. She breaks social barriers and earns the respect of her command. Because of her sharpness, she can come across as aggressive towards people she doesn't favor, especially anyone who tries to put her in her place. She tends to be somewhat judgmental, but she has a big heart, and she is extremely loyal.

Myers-Briggs Personality Type. According to Men’s Health, Yara’s Myers-Briggs personality type is ESTJ, and like Cersei, she falls into the category of the Decisive Leader. You may recall from Cersei’s analysis that individuals with ESTJ preferences drive themselves to reach their goal by effectively organizing people and resources. They tend to have an extensive network of contacts and are willing to make tough decisions when necessary. They value order and structure.

These individuals enjoy setting clear goals and deadlines. They work best in a stable environment with clearly defined roles and responsibilities, and they are driven to complete projects quickly. Individuals with ESTJ preferences are drawn to positions that focus on accuracy, the bottom-line, and the efficient management of people, details, systems, and organizations. They track what works and doesn’t work and make sure that past mistakes aren’t repeated.

BD Personality: The Gritty Proposal Manager. With her strengths lying in organizing people and resources to achieve a defined end-goal, Yara would be an extremely effective Proposal Manager. She would ensure clearly defined roles and responsibilities to manage her team efficiently in submitting winning proposals. She would drive her teams to assess lessons learned after each submission so that each proposal effort runs more effectively than the last. Yara may have a tough exterior, but she is an effective leader and great to have managing the proposal. She will work with her teams to overcome barriers and challenges, but she expects hard work and loyalty in return. If you deliver effective support, you should have no problems collaborating with this gritty proposal manager. 


Jaime Lannister

Game of Thrones Character Analysis. Jaime Lannister is characterized by his initial appearance of unscrupulousness and immorality. However, we later learn that he is much more complex, honorable, and sympathetic that we could have initially imagined. Throughout the show, he encounters situations that compromise, conflict, and essentially humble him—and although he is still essentially a jerk at heart, he ends up being a jerk who tries to do the right thing.

Myers-Briggs Personality Type. According to Men’s Health, Jaime’s Myers-Briggs personality type is ESTP, and he would fall into the category of the Fearless Leader. Individuals with ESTP preferences motivate others by bringing energy into each situation. They apply common sense and experience to problems, quickly analyzing what is wrong and then fixing it. These individuals enjoy taking risks, managing crises, and putting out fires. They work best when surrounded by active, task-oriented people in an environment that is immediate, fast-paced, and focused on the project.

Individuals with ESTP preferences are often hyper-aware of their immediate environment and will usually choose to act on the most logical and efficient option in the present moment. Together with their desire to be accurate, precise, data driven, and efficient, as well as getting to the point, these individuals can scan the environment quickly and jump into immediate action. They are talented multitaskers, with the ability to move seamlessly from one task to the next, doing what seems most expedient and efficient.

BD Personality: The Devilish Head of Business Development. He is the leader we love to hate. He motivates and energizes his team, providing decisive solutions to resolve problems quickly when necessary. He seamlessly juggles the necessary tasks, fires, and relationships necessary to drive the business development organization. Sometimes he may seem a bit devious, but then he shows a more human side that makes us want to like him. Even though we don’t always agree with his decisions, deep down we know he is trying to do the right thing for everyone. Stay focused on delivering the win, and you should have not problems working with the devilish head of business development.


Daenerys Targaryen

Game of Thrones Character Analysis. Daenerys Targaryen, nicknamed Mother of Dragons, is characterized by her strength, confidence, and courage. Despite her strong moral compass, she is capable of dealing ruthlessly with her enemies. She is a powerful and relentless leader who is adored by her people. She is often described as honorable and compassionate, if somewhat naive, although she can be harsh and vengeful against those who seek to harm her or her followers.

Myers-Briggs Personality Type. According to Men’s Health, Daenerys’s Myers-Briggs personality type is INFJ, and like Jon Snow, she is what they label a Perceptive Leader. Individuals with INFJ preferences are compassionate and inspiring; they enjoy helping others grow and develop. They are imaginative and visionary and tend to be sensitive and reserved.

Individuals with INFJ preferences often enjoy working for organizations with a humanitarian mission and a reputation for integrity. They like designing innovative programs or services and creating new approaches. They prefer to work in a welcoming environment where they can collaborate with others as well as work independently. They prefer to organize their own time, which allows them the freedom to fully develop and organize their ideas.

BD Personality: The Lead Writer. Daenerys is the embodiment of your ideal Lead Writer. An introverted at heart, Daenerys will appreciate being able to write independently, but she’ll also enjoy collaborating with her fellow writers to assemble a coherent response. She’ll help the writing team grow and improve their writing, and work to develop innovative solutions to provide better writing support to the organization. Daenerys will lead the writing team by example, and she will inspire everyone to be better. She is loyal to her team, but her downfall is that she is not quick to compromise. If she disagrees with the direction of the Proposal Manager or another writer, she will not stop at simply voicing her opinion and moving on. She may also struggle in succeeding authority and final say to the Proposal Manager, making her somewhat difficult to work with at times. Daenerys will provide solid leadership to the writing team, but expect some tension and times of conflict between her and other members of the team.


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. I am curious: have you been surprised by the Business Development roles I have assigned to any of these characters? Do you recognize any of them in your own companies or experiences? I’d love to hear from you! Cheers!


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