How Common BD Personalities Align with the World of Harry Potter




Last year I posted an article series comparing the cutthroat environment of Game of Thrones to the familiar world of business development (BD). 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. In the series, I noted that 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.

Following that series, I received requests from a few avid readers to post a similar article comparing business development to the world of Harry Potter. It took me a while to catch up enough with the book/movie series to write a blog post—but here it is! In this week’s blog, I take a look at the different Hogwarts houses and draw parallels to the types of individuals we might come across in our line of business from each.

Gryffindor

Gryffindors are known for being a very well-rounded house with brave, loyal, courageous, adventurous, daring, and chivalrous individuals. Gryffindors tend to stand up for others. They often fit nicely into another house, but they are bold enough to tell the sorting hat that they want to be part of the Gryffindor house.

Motto: "Do what is right"

Main Characters: Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, Albus Dumbledore, Neville Longbottom, Fred Weasley, George Weasley, and Ginny Weasley.

Strengths: Gryffindors exhibit many strengths, including courage, daring, chivalry, and a strong moral compass. They stand strong in the face of adversity and show bravery in everything they do. Gryffindors will put themselves in physical danger when they feel there's a good reason to do so. Gryffindors also feel a strong sense of responsibility to protect the weak and will frequently put others before themselves. This trait makes them highly charismatic and popular with others. Finally, Gryffindors tend to see the world as being split into right and wrong, and they will go to great lengths to defend the good while fighting the bad.

Weaknesses: While they have many strengths, Gryffindors are not without weaknesses. They can be hot headed, reckless, and arrogant. Because they're brave and daring, Gryffindors can sometimes react instinctively while ignoring logic, making them hot-headed and occasionally short-tempered. In addition to being hot-headed, many Gryffindors can be reckless in the pursuit of their goals when they take their daring and courage too far. And finally, because Gryffindors tend to be popular, charismatic, and good at most things that they do, some Gryffindors develop inflated senses of themselves and can become quite arrogant.

Best Suited BD Role: Proposal Manager. With their strengths lying in charisma and putting others first, Gryffindors would an extremely effective Proposal Managers. They would work with their teams to overcome barriers and challenges, doing whatever is necessary to help the team succeed. However, beware, as Gryffindors can be hot-headed.  A great asset to the BD team, don’t let a Gryffindor’s short-temper or arrogance sour your working relationship with them.

Ravenclaw

The Ravenclaw house is known for their wisdom, intelligence, creativity, cleverness, and knowledge. Those who value brains over brawn can be found in the Ravenclaw house. Ravenclaws tend to be quirky, and though they can be know-it-alls, they often do know the wisest choices. United by their quirkiness, Ravenclaws have a strong sense of house identity and fellowship.

Motto: "Do what is wise"

Main Characters: Luna Lovegood and Cho Chang

Strengths: Ravenclaws exhibit many strengths, including curiosity, intelligence, creativity, and individuality. One of the main traits that defines the Ravenclaw house is a desire for exploration, inquiry, and learning. Because of this, Ravenclaws are generally highly curious about the world around them and are constantly asking questions to expand their own knowledge. While not all Ravenclaws are naturally intelligent, they all have a strong thirst for knowledge and learning. Ravenclaws tend to think outside of the box and can be highly creative. Many Ravenclaws are also artistic and have unique approaches to solving problems. Finally, Ravenclaws are highly individualistic and don’t tend to follow the crowd or succumb to peer pressure.

Weaknesses: Like all houses, Ravenclaws do have their weaknesses. Ravenclaws can be disconnected with the outside world, arrogant, and isolated. Because Ravenclaws tend to live inside of their own heads, they can come across as vague or disinterested. Ravenclaws can also be arrogant about their own intelligence. Some Ravenclaws even purposefully isolate themselves from others. Although this can be for innocent reasons, but it can also be a byproduct of arrogance; Ravenclaws may view themselves as being better than others and, therefore, not want to associate with those they view as inferior.

Best Suited BD Role: Quirky Head of Production. Ravenclaws’ artistic abilities and capabilities to think outside of the box make them very effective production leads in charge of graphics, visual proposal designs, editing, desktop publishing, and final production. Highly individualistic with a preference for isolation, Ravenclaws have the perfect creative personality to handle all of a proposal team’s production needs. But beware, with their sense of superiority, Ravenclaws may scoff at your lack of graphic design acuity or grasp on the rules of grammar and mechanics. Though you may not be going out for a celebratory drink with a Ravenclaw, they are a critical part of any business development team.

Hufflepuff

The Hufflepuff house is known for hard work, dedication, fair play, patience, and loyalty. Hufflepuffs are just and true. Known as the nice house, Hufflepuffs believe strongly in sparing others’ feelings and in being kind. They enjoy making others happy and tend to be more patient toward people. They're dependable, reliable, and relentlessly good.

Motto: "Do what is nice"

Main Characters: Newt Scamander, Cedric Diggory, and Nymphadora Tonks

Strengths: Hufflepuffs exhibit several strengths, including loyalty, dedication, honesty, and humbleness. Hufflepuffs make the most loyal friends and they identify strongly with their house. Hufflepuffs are some of the most hard-working in the Wizarding World—they try their hardest in everything they do and are rewarded for it. Hufflepuffs also feel a strong desire to always speak and act honestly. And unlike the other houses, Hufflepuffs are almost never prone to arrogance; they are modest and humble in everything that they do and tend to stay away from those who exude self-importance.

Weaknesses: Although Hufflepuffs have many strengths, like the other houses, they do have some weaknesses as well. Hufflepuffs are prone to naivety, poor self-esteem, and lack of ambition. Hufflepuffs are generally optimists and able to find the good in everything, but this means that they can also be naïve and prone to being taken advantage of or tricked. Because of their modesty, they can sometimes fail to see their own worth. At its worst, this can cause severe problems with a lack of confidence and self-worth. Finally, Hufflepuffs struggle with ambition as they can become content in situations that are beneath their capabilities or don't challenge them enough.

Best Suited BD Role: Small Business Proposal Writer. Because of their moral commitments, Hufflepuffs thrive in a small businesses where they can deeply connect with the organization’s mission. Hufflepuffs excel in the role as a proposal writer, where they work hard and are dedicated to delivering the best quality products possible. Though they will try their hardest in any task you assign, Hufflepuffs may lack confidence and ambition. Hufflepuffs are not as likely to pursue promotion and growth opportunities—they are often perfectly happy staying in the writing role for the entirety of their careers. But their loyalty and strong work ethic still make them great additions to the team. If you have Hufflepuffs on your BD team, take care in communicating the opportunity’s mission to them, and make sure you assign them to proposals that are consistent with their morals and values.

Slytherin

Slytherins are known for being cunning, prideful, resourceful, ambitious, intelligent, and determined. Fairly well-rounded, Slytherins love to be in charge and crave leadership. They are fiercely loyal to those who are loyal to them. Despite how many dark wizards come out of this house, the Slytherin house as a whole is not evil. Slytherins do, however, have a tendency to be arrogant or prideful.

Motto: “Do what is necessary"

Main Characters: Voldemort (Tom Riddle), Draco Malfoy, Severus Snape, Horace Slughorn, Albus Potter

Strengths: Many Slytherins enjoy the darkness that their reputation casts over them and are proud of the strengths of their house, including their ambition, cunning, resourcefulness, and determination. Slytherins want to be the best: the smartest in the class or the boss at work. Because of their strong drive and work-ethic, they often achieve these ambitions. Slytherins are also highly intelligent, but rather than seeking to expand their knowledge, they find ways to use their existing skills to their advantage. This makes them clever and cunning, which assists them in their quest for fame and power. Slytherins are also are highly adaptable and resourceful, able to make the best out of any situation. Finally, Slytherins are highly determined. They use their strong work-ethic to fulfil their ambitions and advance their own positions.

Weaknesses: Like the other houses, Slytherins have their weaknesses as well. They tend to be unscrupulous—Machiavellian even—as well as power hungry and discriminatory. Slytherins will often do morally ambiguous things to achieve their goals. This can be positive, as they are willing to get their hands dirty to get things done, but it can also make them seem cold and calculating. If Slytherins don't place any checks on their natural ambition, it can have disastrous consequences, as they can become obsessed with gaining power. Some Slytherins even have a tendency toward arrogance and may insult and demean those who they see as being inferior.

Best Suited BD Role: Cunning Business Development Executive. With their strong drive and solid work ethic, Slytherins would be great at business development. Clever and cunning, Slytherins will do whatever it takes to achieve their goals of winning. However, because they mainly have their own best interest at heart, be cautious when collaborating with a Slytherin. As they will often do morally ambiguous things to achieve their goals, you’ll want to watch the Slytherins on your team to make sure they don’t do anything that could put the team in jeopardy ethically. And when collaborating with a Slytherins from another company, tread with caution, and try to understand what their true motivations might be. If they drop some competitive intelligence your way, particularly about their own company, question the accuracy of the information. They may be trying to mislead you to increase their own competitive advantage.


Final Thoughts
Similar to the Game of Thrones series, the world of Harry Potter has many similarities to the world of business development. Harry Potter is full of individuals who are trying to excel and be the best. The characters form webs of alliances and conflicts among the various parties involved—many of whom are seeking to gain power and control. 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.

I’m curious, what’s your best suited Hogwarts house? Does your BD role align with the position I’ve matched to that house?


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