After readingJen Dziura’s fantastic piece on Productivity Unicorns (an improvement on productivity ninjas) I started thinking about legendary creatures that inspire our work personas. Those are all very well, but for sheer effectiveness in reaching their goals, I don’t think anything can beat a zombie. Obviously. Here’s why you should be channeling a zombie in all your day to day business interactions:

Zombies Know What They Need: You think zombies would be the feared monstrous hoard they are if they had a lot of conflicting desires? If zombies were like “well, I need brains, but you know, I also want peace, love and harmony?”  If they had to take some time out of their brain-hunting to attend a friend’s love-in? No, zombies know that peace, love and harmony are very nice, very nice, maybe in the next world. But they also know that if they want to get things, they have to figure out precisely what they need to be happy, and value it above everything else. They focus on that need pretty obsessively. Zombies need brains. Figure out what you need.  

Zombies Don’t Care If They’re Liked By Non-Zombies: Zombies are able to identify who is like them, and will be able to help them meet their brain eating goals. They don’t really worry about what any other creatures think of them. So when the person who wants to share baby pictures at your desk (approximate running time, 20 minutes) ask yourself if that’s going to help you get brains. No? Politely but firmly tell them that you’re working.

Zombies Move Slowly: Zombies – true zombies – move slowly. They know it’s not going to happen all at once, and they’re not going to spend all their energy racing around wildly. They know that’s a sure way for one of their remaining limbs to drop off. Move slowly but surely towards the brains.  

Zombies Are Always On The Offensive: You think zombies are laying low, trying to avoid being shot in the head? You think they’re building little zombie barracks? No. Zombies are fearless. If they see something they want, they charge in and go for it. They behave as if they know they can’t lose.

Even If They Do Lose, Zombies Never Waste Time Regretting Their Decisions: Did it work out, charging through that flaming farmhouse, getting shot with machine guns? Was that successful for the zombie? No. But the zombie doesn’t care. Sure, it’s been hit with some bullets, but the zombie doesn’t sit down, cry and apologize for their bad choices to anyone. The zombie just resolves to do better next time, and moves on to the next thing.  

Zombies Are Unstoppable: Thinking of giving up on your goals because someone suggested that maybe it wasn’t a great plan? Feel like your boss is never going to promote you? Too riddled with bullet-holes to move? Who cares. Just keep lumbering relentlessly towards that goal. Remember, zombies get shot over and over. People keep building fortifications to keep them out. But zombies just keep pummeling onward until they break them down. Zombies never quit.

Zombies Aren’t Trying To Trump Anyone Else: Zombies aren’t like vampires. They don’t need elaborate capes and glittery skin. Zombies don’t have to prove anything to people (this probably ties into the fact that zombies don’t care if non-zombies like them). Zombies don’t have to make their power-point presentation the one most filled with unnecessary clip-art. They don’t need to point out to their colleagues how they can make their report “pop” more. They aren’t about being flashy.

But Zombies Do Let Their Accomplishments Be Know: When zombies do something great, people know about it. Zombies don’t politely beckon their victims into private rooms to bite them to death. They do it in public. This is why they have a reputation for being a terrifying force. If you’ve done something fantastic, send out a memo. Let your superiors know. Don’t make a big deal out of it, just state it as a fact.  

Zombies Make Everything Seem Easy: You think it was easy for that zombie to kill an entire apartment building full of people? That zombie has one and a half limbs total. It’s head is dangling by a sinew. But does the zombie say “Gosh, I’m so tired today? I feel really stressed, you know? Just kind of burnt out? Because I have only a sinew for a neck?” No. Zombies just keep going. Gracefully. Elegantly. Keeping their private problems private. Making it all seem easy.