What do iconic fictional villains have in common? They always lose in the end. In our Villains of OKR series, we analyze the mistakes in their strategy execution and learn from their successes and failures through an OKRs lens. Welcome to our summertime “Beat the Heat” series!
“You are just a scared little kid in a sweatsuit. I created Mysterio to give the world someone to believe in. I control the truth; Mysterio is the truth!”
— Quentin Beck to Peter Parker
*MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD*
Name: Quentin Beck, AKA “Mysterio”
Credentials: Former Stark Industries innovator. Creator of Binarily Augmented Retro-Framing (B.A.R.F.).
Become “the next Iron Man” and undermine Tony Stark’s legacy
“Save the World” and Become a Hero
Win the trust of Nick Fury, Maria Hill, and Spider-Man
“Defend” Ixtenco, Grand Canal, Prague, and London
Obtain Stark Technology (E.D.I.T.H.)
Make up a cover story about the Elementals
Kill Spider-Man’s friends
Frame Spider-Man for the Elemental attacks
While Mysterio completed the first three Key Results crucial to his Objective, he failed in the grand scope of his OKR (despite amazing progress) because he died while achieving his goal.
Mysterio is your typical friend-turned-enemy villain of the MCU. He leveraged the trust and confidence from Nick Fury, Maria Hill, and Spider-Man (Peter Parker) to gain access to the invaluable Stark technology that made his Objective a possibility.
While he could not thwart Spider-Man in the end, Mysterio’s use of misdirection and deception made a lasting impact on his public image and, in the final post-credits scene, Spider-Man’s identity.
What can we learn from Quentin Beck, the deranged and manipulative Tony Stark wannabe?
Things are not always as they seem
Mystery is in the name for Quentin Beck. He creates false disasters to appear as a superhero. He counsels Peter as a father figure to win his trust. Add in conjuring torturous holograms for Peter when he learns the truth and framing him for the attack on London, and Quentin Beck fully earns the name Mysterio.
While the business world certainly isn’t creating fake entities that threaten the planet, misconceptions are an inevitable part of any industry. Mysterio was successful because his competition, Spider-Man and Fury, weren’t able to separate facts from fiction.
Peter fell victim to Mysterio’s illusions on multiple occasions: the fake attacks on the Grand Canal and Prague, the bar scene where he releases E.D.I.T.H. (the augmented glasses technology left to him by Tony Stark) to Mysterio, and again when he confronts Mysterio about being a liar.
Getting caught in the noise blurs your vision as a business leader. OKRs are where data meet intuition. With Key Results, you have a clear outcome to drive towards because success is quantifiable. There is no second-guessing or arbitrary focus on your Objective. Peter let Mysterio get in his head because of his lack of focus, and his decisions literally hit him like a train.
The consequences of unfocused decision making may not be life and death for you physically, but they can be for your business.
It’s easy to fool people when they’re already fooling themselves — Mysterio
Timing and disruption can be a strength or weakness
You’re either a victim of timing and new challenges, or you’re a driver of them. Mysterio’s timing was impeccable, scooping in on a vulnerable Peter Parker on an earth (mostly) void of Avengers that could snuff out his BS.
OKRs give us Objectives to focus on, and while Key Results remain mostly unaltered, they are flexible if scenarios change. Fury and Spider-Man did not have an OKR to begin with. Peter was facing several internal crises leading up to Mysterio’s grand deception: grieving the loss of Tony Stark, struggling to accept his role as an Avenger, and his romantic interest in MJ.
Peter was a victim (for a time). In this universe (and in ours), that’s okay. Unlike Peter, we are not superhuman — the key is to check back in with your mission, your purpose, and your goals. Refocus on your Key Results, see what’s really happening, and figure out what you’re going to do about it.
Mysterio’s entire OKR centered around his ability to use deception to disrupt — ethical or not, he was effective. In your organizations, your OKRs should keep disruption in mind. We live and work in a fast-paced 2021 world. Anticipating disruption is critical, and pushing innovation is a powerful advantage. OKRs prime us to do both because we have focus at 30,000 feet and on the ground.
Intuition is great, but we have to listen to others
pulled off the perfect plan. He gained the power of E.D.I.T.H. from Peter, giving him full access to Stark’s augmented intelligence system. Even though Peter gained trust in his intuition (the “Peter tingle” or spidey senses), Beck still had the ability to fulfill KR4 — kill Spider-Man.
The Quentin Beck that got fired by Tony Stark showed up in the final battle in
Far From Home
, specifically when he demands that E.D.I.T.H. fires all the drones at Spider-Man in an attempt to kill him.
E.D.I.T.H. warned Mysterio that he was in the firing line of the drones and he didn’t listen, and in Spider-Man’s counterattack, one of the drones fatally shot Mysterio.
When we’re caught in the heat of the moment, it’s difficult to think with a clear head. We might double down on our intuition instead of listening to others, thinking it’s the right move — Mysterio shows us it’s not. Without the organization and enablement of OKRs, collaboration and cohesive feedback are limited.
OKR check-ins serve this purpose. We get to connect with our team, hear different perspectives, and make better decisions together about how we’re going to do achieve the outcome we want. Additionally, OKRs require us to focus on outcomes, not outputs.
We can avoid the desperate decision-making that comes with trying to boost an output metric or finish a list of meaningless tasks alone. As for Mysterio, he fell victim to his own power through E.D.I.T.H. The only thing he was focused on was the output of weaponizing his drones, instead of the outcome, killing Spider-Man.
If he toyed with Peter Parker less in an attempt to stroke his ego, he could have accomplished KR4. Quentin Beck lived up to the emotionally unstable label Stark gave him, not listening to E.D.I.T.H. or having an empowered team around him to help him make decisions.
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