You have just been delegated the critical duty of building a new business unit. If I have one piece of advice for you, it is to build a team that has the will and the skill to survive the zombie apocalypse.
While the occasional one-man army can wander the post-apocalyptic landscape and survive, most mortals survive through strategy – talent acquisition strategy, to be exact. The key to surviving the zombie apocalypse – other than always, always aim for the head – is to build a well-rounded team with skill sets that complement one another. Each individual member of the team should bring something to the table that the other does not. So, without further ado, here are the seven essential components of an elite zombie apocalypse survival team.
A successful leader is someone who takes charge and makes decisions, someone who can rally the troops, is skilled in the art of conflict resolution, and is equipped to deal with the stress of leadership (you know, heavy lies the crown). The leader must be strategic, but still excel in the trenches (i.e., they can still perform the day-to-day duties of the team, like mowing down hoards of zombies). They must have earned and not simply inherited the position. Above all else, the leader is respected by his or her peers, develops and serves the members of his or her team, and is looked to when action is needed and tough decisions need to be made.
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Skills and motivation are essential to survival. The weak and the lazy won’t make it. If you want to survive, you’ll need a dash of crazy on your team. The soldier is someone who is more-than-slightly, but less-than-completely unhinged, someone who laughs in the face of the seemingly impossible and shouts, “Let’s do this!” as they crowd surf the legions of the undead. It’s someone who lives to execute (whether tasks or flesh-eaters) with a smile. And because destroying tasks is their reason for being, you probably won’t find anyone who can accomplish this more creatively (they are probably the only person in the world who has boot-stomped a biter whilst bowing a fiddle).
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Given the waves of the undead and the volatility of the living (e.g., job duties, special assignments, internal and external stakeholders), you will need someone well-versed in weaponry, a true harbinger of death for any zombie or thug that has the great misfortune of crossing his or her path. You won’t survive long without someone who’s proficient with blades, pistols, rifles, and pipes (business acumen, industry knowledge, etc.). Whatever weapon is at his or her disposal, the maven can use it with dexterity. If they haven’t yet used it in the field, they master it with haste. The maven exudes cunning, is agile and adapts with ease. If your team is in danger, the maven can quickly and quietly execute until the team reaches safety and is able to recuperate.
In a perfect post-apocalyptic world (emphasis on “perfect”), your team would be so dominant as to avoid any zombie-induced injuries completely. But let’s be realistic, the jaws of the flesh-eating mob are sometimes going to clamp down. Aside from zombie bites, your team might experience dehydration and exhaustion (burnout), face illness and disease (out sick, on short-term or long-term disability), endure pregnancy and even the common cold (boredom). Having a skilled medic (someone who can fill in the gaps when a team member is down) on your team might just be the reason for your survival.
Brawn and badassery are all well and good, but you will need smarts to survive. Your team would be left vulnerable without a bona fide strategist, someone who is skilled in logistics and can chart a safe route from the arsenal to the grocery store when shit goes awry (because shit will go awry – errors will be made, information will be incomplete, and due dates will be delayed). While not the most skilled fighter, the brain is resourceful and can serve as an advisor to the leader. The brain is someone who can help solve problems without posing a threat to authority. Who knows, the brain might even discover the cure to all of this hell and reverse the outbreak once and for all.
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There has never been a post-apocalyptic world that was easy (there’s a reason they call it “work”). Surviving the zombie apocalypse requires you to scrounge for food, to seek shelter and supplies, and to fend off and slay zombie after zombie – people who might have been a neighbor, a close friend or a loved one. It’s enough to seriously hurt morale. Skilled mascots are uniquely able to defuse tension with laughter and even remind the team of what they are fighting for (or working towards) when the train goes off the rails. The zombie apocalypse can really get you down, but the right mascot can pick your team right back up.
This person seriously sucks (i.e., a bad hire). The sacrifice knows that they are dead weight and that they don’t bring much to the table. Maybe they offered up value in the past, but they have since thrown in the towel. They know the deal: The longer they stick around, the more likely the team will die. You feel bad for the sacrifice, but they offer your team something no one else will – their life. They call it quits (or, more likely, you fired them), but with his or her last breath, they show the team the value of life (having a job, a steady paycheck, a sense of purpose). The team might be burdened by the redistribution of duties, but believe it or not, their death (termination) will pull the team closer together.
In the apocalypse, one thing every member of your team must be capable of is holding onto their humanity. There will be times when you’re out of food, out of ammo, and out of luck. During those times, it will be all too easy to throw another member of the team to the masses. Don’t. Your team must fight that impulse with every last fiber of their being. Why? Because this is the zombie apocalypse and you are only as strong as your team.
Photo: Carlos Adampol Galindo
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