TV shows are great at illustrating themes of real life; inspiring heroes and leaders, tales of success and hard work paying off, and the overarching theme of accomplishing more as a team. The next time you tune in to your favorite show, don’t miss the opportunity to learn from the characters and their adventures, or misadventures! Here are 10 lessons on running a business, gleaned from popular prime time shows.
The Big Bang Theory
1. The power of a team. While all the individual characters on The Big Bang Theory are highly educated and have impressive intellects, they often can only solve problems when they all come together to combine their unique strengths. Often times, it is the character Penny, who has no Phd or college degree, who provides some of the most important input to solve the problem. To succeed, a team needs the strengths and skills of all members.
2. Organization and Guidelines. The NCIS team makes near constant references to “Gibbs’ Rules.” These are the consistent policies and procedures that the NCIS team leader, Gibbs, uses and expects his team to use when working a case. He has developed them after decades of being a highly skilled detective officer. Effective, great leaders should use guidelines and organization to make sure their team is working together and staying on track. These guidelines should be based on proven techniques, and will ensure your team if effectively working towards their goals.
3. Don’t be blinded. Gibbs’ Rule #51 is a particularly great one. It allows, “sometimes we are wrong.” To be an effective leader, particularly in the small business space, you cannot be blinded by ego or early success. The customer is still your guiding force and you must never stop trying to improve upon your existing techniques. Make sure your employees know it’s more than fine to admit when something isn’t working, because only then can your team take improved, corrective action.
4. Focus on the heart of the matter. On The Voice, the judges keep their backs turned towards the contestants and can only assess the true essence of a contestants voice; the tone, breath, quality, range, scope and vibrato. They cannot be wooed or influenced by the razzle dazzle of a contestant’s physical appearance, clothing style, or any other extraneous factor that actually doesn’t have much to do with their ability to sing. From potential hires, new partners, to business contracts, don’t be distracted by the razzle dazzle! Instead, make sure you evaluate based on the actual merits.
5. Follow your heart and do what you love! Mitchell is a very talented lawyer, but he found no joy in working for a traditional law firm. He is conflicted about leaving a traditional and well paid job, but decides to pursue his passion of Environmental Law. Once settled in his new job, he finds the great happiness and fulfillment that can only come with doing what you love, and loving what you do. Don’t be afraid to follow your heart, and work on what you are most passionate about.
6. Hire outside the box! Most police agencies would not consider hiring a mystery novelist to assist in real life crime solving, but Richard Castle brings great talent and unique insights to his team. Their police team is unstoppable with such an out-of-the-box addition to the team!Don’t be afraid to hire someone with unusual experience, just focus on what’s most beneficial for your business.
The Mindy Project
7. Exceptional customer service wins every time. The main character Mindy is a much loved, and very successful doctor because she dedicates herself to exceptional customer service. She refuses to abandon her patients and switch to a more expensive practice, and she even leaves a date to rush across town to help deliver one of her patient’s baby! Her clients recognize her emphasis on customer service and reward her with their long-term patronage and highly valuable word of mouth recommendations.
8. Have faith in the talents of the people you’ve hired. Carrie Mathison’s premonitions and instincts are often right, but because her superior, Saul Berenson, frequently ignore hers input, the plot thickens. You should have faith in those you’ve hired, you hired them for their talents and intelligence after all right?
9. Focus on employee morale. While you should never, ever, talk to any business partners or employees in the same dramatic style as the host, Jon Taffer, there is an important lesson to be learned from the one major thing that all the failing bars and restaurants have in common: low employee morale. If your employees are not motivated or happy, they could bring down your entire operation. Host Jon Taffer emphasises in every episode that on the other hand, happy, committed, and motivated employees will take your business to unprecedented heights.
10.Hire for what really matters. At the beginning of The Suits story, the senior partner Harvey Specter is instructed that it is company policy that he must hire a Harvard Law School graduate. Instead, he hires a non-Harvard, college dropout, Mike. He does this, because he posses excellent qualities, other than a Harvard Law degree, that actually make him the best candidate. When building a top notch team, focus on the actual talents and abilities of your candidates, not just their degree or resume.