Squid Game: Lessons Property Managers Can Learn from the Games

Murder, mayhem and management lessons? Let's go!
Jessica Fiur, Managing Editor
Jessica Fiur, Managing Editor

Editor’s note: SPOILERS ahead. Don’t read if you haven’t finished Squid Game, or if you think you might want to watch in the future. 

Squid Game is an absolute global phenomenon. The South Korean series is on track to become the most streamed Netflix showever. And, rightfully so. It is timely, a parable to modern life and crazy entertaining. I, personally, like to think of Squid Game as the new Tiger King, in that everyone is totally obsessed with it, it feels very much like a product of the times, and I feel like an absolute lunatic when I try to describe the plot to my parents.

Property managers can learn a lot from Squid Game. 

Even though it might seem like Squid Game is an overnight sensation, Hwang Dong-hyuk wrote the show in 2009 and was rejected by studios for 10 years

So, believe in yourself, work hard and never give up.


But you can also learn a lot from the six games the contestants are forced to play.

Again, spoiler alert! Major spoilers below!

Here’s what property managers can learn from the Squid Game games. 

Red Light Green Light: In this game of Red Light, Green Light, the first players run through, making light-hearted bets about who will get to the end first. Until the weird robot doll calls red light and snipers gun down the moving players. Lesson for property managers: Some tasks might seem embarrassingly simple or childish or “below you.” But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take them seriously. For example, you might have residents constantly complaining about their upstairs making noise. You might have “more important” things to work on. But if the resident is constantly unhappy, they might move out. It doesn’t matter if you don’t think the issue is a big deal—it’s your job to resolve it.

Ppopgi (Honeycomb Candy): Gi-hun picks the umbrella, the most difficult shape! He realizes it’s going to be difficult to get the piece out by chipping away at it, but realizes he can lick the back of the candy to melt it. Mi-nyeo and Deok-su use a smuggled lighter. Sang-woo and Player 111 (the doctor guy) had information about the game in advance and picked the easiest shapes! They all get out alive. Lesson for property managers: Don’t always rely on the tools they give you—sometimes you need a little imagination. Like, maybe your company has always passively gotten renters by having signs up in front of your property. But you should also try out other methods. How about encouraging resident referrals or attracting renters through Instagram?

Tug of War: Gi-hun’s team didn’t have the strongest players. But they were able to follow Player 001’s strategy, which got them an advantage at the start. And then Sang-woo, arguably the smartest on the team (surely in his mind, at least) comes up with a move that saves the team in the end. Lesson for property managers: Don’t stack your team with employees who have the same strengths. For the best performance, make sure you have diversity in your staff. People have different world views, priorities and ideas, which will make your team more successful overall.

Image courtesy of Pexels.com

Marbles: Deok-su almost lost when he was playing odds or evens with his gangster friend, so he demanded that the guard let them play another game. Permission was granted, and Deok-su decided they would play a throwing game, which he thought he would have a better chance of winning. And he did. Lesson for property managers: Play to your strengths. Are you awesome at keeping track of rent payments but terrible about planning resident events? Don’t try to do everything. Let the person on your staff who is great at that organize the movie and margarita night or the puppy costume contest (with margaritas!). Everyone will be happier, you won’t be buried in a million tasks and the building will run smoother overall. (Another lesson from this game is to always stick up for yourself, which is just sensible advice.)

Glass Bridge: Player 017 was a glass expert! He could figure out which glass panel was tempered and safe for the players, and which panel was normal glass. If it wasn’t for Sang-woo getting all murdery, the four remaining players totally could have made it to safety. Lesson for property managers: Listen to your experts! There is a reason you hired them. Your maintenance manager will know more about how to help with a maintenance issue than you will.

Squid Game: Two friends battle to the death in a game they used to play as kids. Lesson for property managers: Um, nothing here. Are you looking for a professional lesson from Squid Game? YOU GUYS ARE SICK!

What else can property managers learn from the Squid Game games? And were you as totally shocked as I was when [redacted] was [redacted] (look, I’ve spoiled enough here, but happy to talk privately)? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Post your comments on our Facebook page or send a tweet to @MHNOnline or @jfiur