What lessons can your favorite TV shows teach you for how to succeed in business? This Sunday marks the 65th anniversary of the annual Emmy awards. The TV world gathers together in L.A to celebrate the accomplishments of the year’s best TV programs. And we at home get to remember all the little things we’ve, loved, hated, and learned over the course of our 2012-2013 TV viewing season. We’ve learned things about ourselves. Like that we as a collective have odd tastes. How else do you explain the success of Duck Dynasty and the existence of Sharknado? We’ve also learned tips for overcoming adversity and thriving in difficult situations, thank you, Orange is the New Black. Some of TV’s best, like CSI, even enhance our problem solving abilities. True, many of us watch TV to escape from the day to day realities of life, however many of the TV shows we enjoy offer us lessons that we can apply to life and business. Some shows are obviously all about business – Shark Tank and House of Lies (love the show – however feel the need to make a public service announcement – not all consultants are like that.) However some lessons come from surprising sources like Downton Abbey or Game of Thrones. Let’s take a look at a few of this year’s best-received (and Emmy-nominated) shows – and some helpful lessons they can provide us as to how to thrive in the business world.
- Breaking Bad: Starting your own business? Follow in Walter White’s footsteps; just look at the multi-million dollar company he’s created in six short seasons. Wait, scratch that. Don’t open up a meth lab. But you have to admit White and his Breaking Bad associates did a pretty bang-up job. He’s innovative, creative, (Blue Sky), he knows his target market and understands the needs of his team and stakeholders. When it comes to entrepreneurship, Walter White is king.
- Game of Thrones: You’ve got to know who and what you’re working with. Do you have an amazing team, great leadership, a product that no one else has, like dragons (I really hope you don’t have dragons…) Own it. Figure out the best way to market it, use it to create customer satisfaction, and increase your chances of continued growth. If there’s anything that we’ve learned from the folks over in Westeros (besides when the music starts playing and the doors close – run!) that can be applied to business, it’s know your strengths and leverage them, know your weaknesses and plan for them, build a strong and loyal team, and have a clear strategy (which sometimes includes knowing when to walk away).
- Downton Abbey: Change is inevitable, and sometimes you need to force yourself to accept that reality. Whether it’s change in the workplace, or change to your gigantic country home in the English countryside, it’s important to plan for changes and communicate to those impacted why the changes are being made. Yes change can be scary, but just think: at least you aren’t part of the first generation to use indoor electricity! Planning for and embracing change can be the difference between life and death (figuratively in business, literally in the show).
- Mad Men: Take a cue from the time before the internet and don’t underestimate the power of personal interactions. With clients, customers and co-workers alike, managing the relationships and interactions is something that can often become tricky. So take some (not all…different times after all) pointers from the lessons learned from Don Draper and the ad men, and make sure to take time to build personal relationships. Human interaction, communication, trust and learning to value diversity are all imperative to business success.
So who says you can never learn anything by sitting in front of the television? What are some lessons your favorite TV shows have taught you?
About Scott Span, MSOD: is CEO & Lead Consultant of Tolero Solutions - an Organizational Improvement & Strategy firm. He helps clients in facilitating sustainable growth by connecting and maximizing people –> performance –> profit™, creating organizations that are more responsive, productive and profitable. Email | Website | LinkedIn | Twitter | Blog | Facebook ______________________________________________________________
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