4 Key Lessons Squid Game Can Teach Us About Teamwork

October 12, 2021 : General Team Building, News

Warning: Spoilers Ahead!

Netflix’s latest show ‘Squid Game’ has captured the world’s attention and has already become one of the streaming platform’s biggest successes. The fictional survival series follows hundreds of debt-ridden contestants as they compete in an array of deadly children’s games for the prize money of £28 million. 

Squid Game is not just an entertaining Netflix series, it’s a brilliant insight into the core elements required for success in teamwork. 

Aside from its depiction of violent, gory, and even deadly children’s games, the games in Squid Game highlight the importance of teamwork, communication and creative thinking in high-pressure (albeit deadly) situations. 

The lessons learned from this hit show can help to revitalize and enhance your workforce’s ability to collaborate positively and productively. 

With this in mind, we’ve rounded up four core lessons Squid Game can teach us about teamwork.

Children's Game: Red Light, Green

Image Source – Squid Game (Netflix). 

Game Rules: The original children’s game has one player facing the wall while the others try to cross the finish line. When the player facing the wall shouts “green light”, the other players must move towards the finish line. However, if this player shouts “red light”, the others must stop and stay still. If they are caught moving, they’re eliminated. 


Key Lessons to Learn from Red Light, Green Light:


  • In order to succeed, you must actively listen

In Red Light, Green Light, if you aren’t paying close enough attention, you could risk moving at the wrong time. If you’re caught moving after the player shouts “red light”, you’ll get eliminated, or (in extreme cases, like Squid Game) even risk death. 


“In the workplace, listening to one and other allows staff to forge new relationships and gain a greater level of respect for each other. In turn, this will enable a team’s communication to flow more freely, whereby individual opinions are listened to and decisions are made as a team.” – Mike McCloy, Corporate Team Building at Maximillion.


  • Patience is key

Red Light, Green Light also teaches us the importance of remaining patient in a stressful and time-pressured setting. In this children’s game, trying to win too quickly can cost you a guaranteed victory. 

In the Squid Game, the contestants who attempt to race to the finish line are the first to fall. However, those who take their time, stand a better chance of surviving. 

“In the workplace, patience allows us to slow down, gather our thoughts and evaluate the best way to respond to any given situation. Without patience, we run the risk of getting caught up in the moment and making decisions based on our emotions, rather than logic.”  Mike McLoy, Corporate Team Building at Maximillion.

Patience also allows us to listen to others and take into account their thoughts and feelings, which helps us formulate a more rounded approach to any given situation.

Children's Game: Tug of War

Image Source – Squid Game (Netflix).

Game Rules: In the real-life children’s game of tug of war, two teams pull the rope back and forth to see which team can overpower the other, leaving the other team to fall down. However, in Squid Game, whichever team loses, they plummet to their death from an elevated platform. 


Key Lessons to Learn:


Problem-solving is strengthened by diversity


In the Netflix show, many of the contestants choose their teams based on size and strength, believing this would give them the upper hand in the event. Oh Il-nam (a weak, elderly and frail contestant) is the last contestant to be picked by other contestants. In the following scene, Oh Il-nam’s team find themselves up against a physically stronger team and soon panic starts to settle in. 


Despite the noticeable difference in weight and strength, Oh Il-nam uses his age and wisdom to his advantage and strategises a game plan for his team to follow. With this plan in place, Oh Il-nam’s team are able to overcome the odds and out-smart  their opponents and win the game of tug of war. 


“In the workplace, having a diverse workforce with members from all different backgrounds allows for a wider range of perspectives to be integrated when brainstorming, problem-solving and developing new ideas in business.” Mike McLoy, Corporate Team Building at Maximillion.


Creative thinking & communication is vital

In the show’s tug of war game, the physically weaker team used communication and innovative thinking to outsmart and overpower their opponents and win. When one tactic wasn’t working, they communicated and adapted their plan of attack effectively to ensure their victory.


This lesson can also be applied to business. Nick Heap, the founder of Practical Development Ideas, notes that having a “flexible plan” and agreeing to “listen, share ideas and respect” your team members will create trust and improve communication within the workplace. Heap adds that “a shared vision creates energy” and in business, or tug of war for that matter, energy and momentum is everything.

Overall, Netflix’s Squid Game can teach us a lot about how teamwork can be used to succeed in high pressure and stressful environments. Red Light, Green Light reminds us to listen and be patient in the face of stress and adversary. Tug of war teaches us the importance of diversity and utilising each team member’s skill, as well as the importance of communication and flexible and creative thinking in challenging circumstances. 


If you’re looking to revitalise your workplace by improving staff communication, morale and overall productivity, then we’ve got you covered. Maximillion has over 30 years of experience helping employees reach their full potential through an array of exciting and immersive corporate team building events across the UK. 

Check out our exciting range of team bonding activities in our Christmas brochure and our Maximillion Events Brochure 2021.

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