Hans Gruber in Die Hard: Stealing the Day with OKRs

“By the time they figure out what went wrong, we’ll be sitting on a beach earning 20%.” – Hans Gruber

via GIPHY

Villain Profile

Name: Hans Gruber, Die Hard

Credentials: World-renowned German terrorist who attempts heisting the Nakatomi Plaza for $640 million. Antagonist to John McClane.

Personality: Bone-chilling, ruthless, unpredictable.

Mission

Orchestrating a morally-convicted heist under the guise of a terrorist incident.

OKR

Objective Sit on a beach earning 20% of the stolen money from the Nakatomi vault Progress 60%
Description Steal $640 million in untraceable bonds that are kept in the Nakatomi Plaza’s vault
Due Date Day of the Nakatomi building’s Christmas party
KR 1 Breach and secure the Nakatomi Plaza 100%
KR 2 Break through 7 locks in the Nakatomi vault 100%
KR 3 Neutralize the SWAT team and FBI 100%
KR 4 Fake his death with a roof explosion 0%
KR 5 Evade with the money 0%

What are OKRs?

Outcome

Hans Gruber achieved 60% progress. Two critical mistakes with his key results prevented him from reaching his objective:

  1. Inability to adapt his strategy — Neutralize John McClane
  2. Failing to empower his team

OKR Analysis

Gruber’s plan seemed like a stroke of genius. Dying at John McClane‘s hands (Yippee-ki-yay Mother…[NSFW]) was not a potential outcome Hans accounted for. This objective needed to be a committed effort with an adaptive strategy and flawless execution. 60-70% achievement wouldn’t cut it.

Where did Hans go wrong? He wrongly assumed the environment in which he worked would be predictable.

Hans operated with a waterfall mentality rather than agile.

Hans had all the elements necessary to win — a mission, well-defined goal, plan, resources, and a capable team. Hans devised this plan based on a predictable environment without anticipating that someone capable of thwarting his plans would be at the party. Even worse, he continued to push through his plan without neutralizing John. He refused to be agile and adapt as John McClane countered his efforts.

“Just a fly in the ointment, Hans. The monkey in the wrench.” – John McClane

Hans did not delegate and trust this team. He did not push down decision-making.

Hans’s plan was too leader-centric. Under the guise of perfection, he spent too much time commanding and controlling the team instead of uniting.

Even the best managers won’t catch every performance gap. In a top-performing team, members of the team will confront each other as things come up. Instead, this team ran decisions through Hans, and Hans dictated what needed to happen almost every step of the way. Key example: Hans’s “shoot the glass” quote to his fellow henchman, Karl.

An aligned team with Hans’s trust could have neutralized John McClane’s counteroperation and succeeded in their goal.

Could we rewrite Hans’s OKRs?

Hans Gruber achieved international status as a terrorist because of his mastermind strategy and execution. His downfall was his inability to adapt his strategy, develop a team that could self-govern (identify and correct performance gaps independently), and push down decision-making authority. Teamwork does indeed make the dream work, especially if the dream is “Sitting on a beach earning 20%.”

Objective Sit on a beach, living off the interest from stolen untraceable bonds in the Nakatomi vault 🏖
Description Steal $640 million in untraceable bonds that are kept in the Nakatomi Plaza’s vault
Due Date Day of the Nakatomi building’s Christmas party
KR 1 Breach and secure the Nakatomi Plaza
KR 2 Break through 7 locks in the Nakatomi vault
KR 3 Neutralize John McClane, SWAT team, and FBI
KR 4 Fake his death with a roof explosion
KR 5 Evade with the money

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