For anyone who’s ever whiled away hours in front of Netflix, we bring good news; that box set binge wasn’t a complete waste of your Sunday. You see, while you were glued to your screen, pearls of business wisdom from the likes of Don Draper and Harvey Specter were being absorbed somewhere inside your consciousness. But don’t worry if you can’t recall them now: we took the liberty of re-watching some of our favourite shows in order to glean the best business lessons for you. Look, someone had to do it, OK?
Don’t ditch your loyal clients for bigger fish: Mad Men
Don Draper taught us much about business during Mad Men’s glorious seven-season run (like how an orange swivel chair would be a chic asset to any office), most notably to value your loyal clients over the lure of larger, higher paying brands – something he had to consistently remind his partners.
For example, remember when Sterling Cooper wanted their fictional ad agency to procure American Airlines as a client, but Don was reluctant as that would mean he would have to ditch Mohawk Airlines, who he believed deserved the same standard of care they had always received? The American Airlines deal ended up falling through but Mohawk Airlines were still there, waiting in the sidelines, quietly proving that they matter.
Don’t dwell on your setbacks: House of Cards
Fictional politician Frank Underwood isn’t easily deterred, as fans of the show will attest. His antics – however unsavoury – teach us not to dwell on a setback, but find an alternative solution instead. Case in point: when his party refused to back his Presidential run for 2016, Frank decided to court voters directly instead of admitting defeat.
Strive to make your product superior: Breaking Bad
“You and I will not make garbage,” Walter White tells Jesse Pinkman during season one of Breaking Bad. “We will produce a chemically pure and stable product that performs as advertised.” I mean, sure, he’s talking about cooking crystal meth that boasts more than 99% purity, but the take home message is simply to strive to create a superior product.
Champion your company’s talent: Mad Men
Devout fans of the show will know that Peggy began her career at Sterling Cooper & Partners as a secretary before being promoted to copywriter and eventually a founding member of the company. Impressive, no? Peggy’s swift climb of the career ladder proves that nurturing internal talent allows them the opportunity to thrive within your company instead of losing them to the competition.
Have goals, not dreams: Suits
You think you’re just watching a TV show, but what you’re actually getting is a series of invaluable life lessons delivered to you in the form of the unashamedly ambitious Harvey Specter from Suits. “I don’t have dreams, I have goals,” says Harvey of his success strategy. “Now it’s on to the next one.” Indeed, while dreams can be flimsy and ambiguous, goals can be achieved within a pre-determined time though a series of actions. He isn’t called “the best closer” in New York for nothing!
Don’t be afraid of Plan B: Master of None
Emergency contraception aside, some of the best-laid plans fail to come to fruition – and that’s OK. When Plan A doesn’t work out, stay nimble and roll with Plan B. If you only have a one-minded plan for your business (or your life), you’ll feel disappointed when the unexpected happens instead of viewing these curveballs as the amazing opportunities they can be.