Killmonger and his OKR

What do iconic fictional villains have in common? They always lose in the end. In our Villains of OKR series we will analyze the mistakes in their strategy execution and learn from their failures through an OKRs lens.

“All that challenge s**t is over with. I’m the king now.” – “King” Killmonger to T’Challa

Villain Profile

Name: N’Jadaka (birth), Erik Stevens (legal), Killmonger (nickname)

Credentials: Descendant and son of Prince N’Jobu

Personality: Ruthless. Cruel. Power-hungry.

Mission

To give poor and oppressed people the power to change the world

OKR

Objective Equip the suffering with weapons to retaliate against their oppressors 25%
Description Killmonger wanted to avenge his father’s death fulfill his father’s goals.
KR 1 Enter Wakanda 100%
KR 2 Kill T’Challa 0%
KR 3 Be the last one ever to hold the power of the Black Panther 0%
KR 4 Supply vibranium weapons to all Wakandan spies 0%

Outcome

Killmonger achieved 25%. He did not achieve his goal.

What went wrong?

I would suggest it was because some folks didn’t agree with his objective. They may have agreed with the mission. But, they disagreed with how he wanted to fulfill it. So, similar to what we saw happen to Hela last week, some Wakandians passively ignored Killmonger’s direction while others actively obstructed his progress.

Killmonger could have benefitted from more satisfied, engaged, and inspired Wakandians supporting his mission and strategy.

Let’s break this down in the analysis.

OKR Analysis

Killmonger’s plan

He thought if he could get into Wakanda; challenge the king, T’Challa, for the throne and win; hold the power of the Black Panther and be the last one ever to do it, he could meet his objective. Only then would he be able to use Wakanda’s technology and resources—vibranium—to give the poor and oppressed the power (i.e., weapons) to change the world.

Killmonger thought he achieved the first 3 KRs. He got into Wakanda. He had to betray his business associates Klaue and Limbani, and his girlfriend, Linda, to get there. But he did it.

He did challenge T’Challa for the throne, and everyone thought he won. They all saw T’Challa thrown over the waterfall’s edge. They all thought T’Challa was dead. And so, Killmonger was crowned king (as was Wakanda’s custom).

He held the power of the Black Panther and ordered folks to burn down the herb garden. (This herb enabled this power.) He also got to don the newest version of the Black Panther suit. Everything was looking up.

Killmonger’s downfall and legacy

He should have succeeded.

Why did he fail?

Killmonger had a few people on his side. At the same time, some were actively working against him. I’d go as far as to say as most Wakandians were dissatisfied. The result was T’Challa getting help to regain the throne.

SPOILER ALERT: In the end, Killmonger died and T’Challa came around to understand Killmonger’s point of view. T’Challa eventually allowed the world to see what Wakanda really was and began sharing his country’s technology and resources. So in a way, Killmonger and N’Jobu’s mission lived on. The only difference was T’Challa wanted to help others without engaging in violence.

The foundational elements of true employee engagement

Killmonger had some “actively disengaged” folks in his crew.

Gallop has found this to be true of our U.S. workplaces too. In recent studies they found, “The percentage of workers who are “actively disengaged” — those who have miserable work experiences and spread their unhappiness to their colleagues — increased slightly from 2019 to 2020, from 13% to 14%.”

Eric Garton and Michael Mankins from Bain & Company outline it this way. They suggest a pyramid of employee needs, similar to what we’ve learned from Abraham Maslow and his hierarchy of needs. In this pyramid, there exist satisfied, engaged, and inspired employees.

I’m pretty sure Killmonger did not support these baseline needs. (Recall earlier, he killed his business associates to get into Wakanda.)

A new motivation

We still have this lingering notion that if we pay people more, they’ll do whatever we ask. As a result, we sometimes get fixated on rewarding performance economically. We turn everything into a quid pro quo.

“Most employees are not coin-operated, and more money does not lead to more engagement.”Garton and Mankins, 2015

Is there a way to support our employees to become satisfied, engaged, and inspired? Can we help them connect their work to a higher purpose, so their work has meaning?

We’d say yes. That’s why we are building Gtmhub. We believe the answer is made possible through OKRs. And that their power is supported and scalable through software.

Don’t know what OKRs are? Don’t fret. You can learn more about them here.

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