Important Lessons for Entrepreneurs from the Kobayashi Maru Principle

Important Lessons for Entrepreneurs from the Kobayashi Maru Principle

Important lessons for entrepreneurs

There are many lessons for entrepreneurs from the Kobayashi Maru principle. You need to understand that lessons for entrepreneurs can come from virtually any sphere of human existence. Often times, lots of entrepreneurs have seen their vision and dreams crash before them for the singular reason of failure. The question is, is failure actually the end or the beginning of another phase of trial?

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As an entrepreneur, you need to understand that failure is never absolute, irrespective of how it presents itself. A great philosopher said and I quote “masters have failed more times than beginners have even tried”. This means that failure is part of the process in the life of every entrepreneur. It is only those entrepreneurs that have learnt how to use failure to their advantage that will be successful at the end.

The objective of this article is not to make you celebrate failure but rather to aid you in using failure to your advantage. We shall achieve this by outlining some of the very important lessons for entrepreneurs from the principle of the Kobayashi Maru. As an entrepreneur, this can be the difference between giving up on your dreams and fighting to actualize your dreams and visions in life.

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What Is The Kobayashi Maru Principle?

Before we go to those important lessons for entrepreneurs, it is also very necessary that we know what Kobayashi maru is. The Kobayashi maru principle is got from an exercise in the fictional Star Trek universe designed to test the character, discipline, and resolve of Starfleet Academy cadets in a no-win situation.

The aim of this principle is to you redefine the problem and manage it in such a way that shows great character.  For those not familiar with Star Trek, the kobayashi maru exercise involves that the trainee must choose between starting a war if they must save the Kobayashi maru crew. So the options were simple, save the crew and start a war or avoid the war by letting the crew members die. You will definitely agree with me that there are many important lessons for entrepreneurs from this Kobayashi maru story.

A Kobayashi maru situation is simply a no-win or lose-lose situation. You can imagine the dilemma that the cadets found themselves in. If they save the crew members, war will break out and more people will die. Folding their arms and watching the crew members die is also a very difficult decision to make. As an entrepreneur, you will certainly come across such scenarios in the course of your business. What you do at that point might be the difference between staying in business and going out of business.

The Important Lessons for Entrepreneurs

It is now time for us to consider these important lessons for entrepreneurs as seen in the Kobayashi maru. Below are some of these important lessons for you:

  1. Never believe in a no-win or lose-lose situation

According to the Star Trek exercise, it was only Admiral Kirk that was able to complete the mission. When he was asked how he managed to solve the dilemma, he responded by saying that redefined the problem. By redefining your problem or failure as the case may be, you can convert it into a win-win situation. This implies that as an entrepreneur when you are faced with failure you need to see that failure as an opportunity to learn.

It is only when you have come to understand failure as an opportunity to learn that you can be able to persevere in the face of challenges. It was Thomas Edison who said that he found 999 ways a bulb can’t be built and one way in which it can. In fact, it was recorded that a reporter asked him how it feels to have failed 1000 times. Edison responded by saying that he didn’t fail 1000 times, rather the light bulb was an invention with 1000 steps. This is what we refer to about redefining the problem or failure.

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The ability to redefine the problem is one of the important lessons for entrepreneurs from the Kobayashi maru.

  1. You can always implement option C

Oftentimes as an entrepreneur, you are faced with two equally detrimental options to choose from. In this situation, it will be very difficult to make a valid decision that will be in favor of your business enterprise or establishment. Let us go back to the Kobayashi maru exercise. When Admiral Kirk went with his ship to save the Kobayashi maru crew, his ship was disabled and within range of a massive weapon.

At that point, Kirk’s best friend Spock had to sacrifice his life by entering the reactor to jump-start the core. This Spock’s solution (option C) prevented Kirk’s ship from been destroyed. As an entrepreneur, whenever you are faced with two detrimental choices to make you need to remember there is always the third choice.

It is very important you understand that the option C always comes with a price as seen in the case of Spock. The solution to a lose-lose scenario is dependent on your definition of winning and the amount of loss you can take. As an entrepreneur, are you willing to win at the expense of your team members or the loss of people close to you? You alone can answer the above question.

  1. Surround yourself with loyal team members

Without the sacrifice of Kirk’s best friend Spock, Kirk wouldn’t have succeeded nor survived the mission.  Sometimes the difference between getting back on your feet and remaining down and out is the caliber of people you surround yourself with. Therefore, as an entrepreneur, your team members matters a lot when it comes to achieving success in your business establishment. Visionary and selfless team members are non-negotiable if you actually want to build your business.

Just like the Kobayashi maru exercise, no-win situations are ultimately the test of character for all entrepreneurs and business owners. The choices you make and how you deal with loss says a lot about you and how far your business will go.  I trust that the aforementioned important lessons for entrepreneurs will guide you in your business endeavor.



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