Does “House of Cards” hold lessons for business owners? The Netflix drama, showing the rise to power of the ruthless politician, Frank Underwood, would seem to contain lessons of things to avoid if one is a businessperson. For example, no one would advise someone to commit murder, even if it turns out to be advantageous.
However, a recent article in Fortune suggests that there are some leadership lessons that can be derived from the dark, bloody career of President Underwood. Here then are your business owner lessons from a power hungry villain:
Never leave your wingman, woman, or business partner behind
The first lesson is never to leave your wingman or woman behind. Underwood makes the mistake of betraying his wife, Clare, which sows distrust and, therefore, impairs their relationship. In like manner, a business owner should always play it straight with his or her partner. Trust between partners makes things run smoother.
Be careful about revealing sensitive information
The second lesson is that one should be careful about revealing sensitive information, even to friends, that can be used against you. With Underwood, that once consisted of some incriminating evidence against Claire. For a business owner, the information could be, for example, future expansion plans that competitors could use against him or her.
Treat your subordinates with respect
The third lesson is always to treat subordinates with respect. Underwood has a problem in this area in that he tends to behave as a tyrant, often humiliating people who work for him. A business owner has to exert authority to keep the firm running, but he or she should not do so in such a way as to turn people from loyal subordinates into bitter enemies.
Always be a problem solver
The fourth lesson is always to be a problem solver. Underwood does not waste time over setbacks. When Underwood finds his way to the 2016 nomination blocked by party leaders, he goes around them and appeals directly to the American people with a jobs program. In a similar manner, if a business owner finds that one way to grow the business is not working, then he should try another way.
Remember, nothing lasts forever
Finally, a business owner has to realize that nothing lasts forever. At the end of season three, on top of all of his problems, Underwood finds that Claire intends to leave him, fed up by his machinations and betrayals. Underwood is not likely to accept this since his fatal flaw is that everything must last until he decides that it ends. A business owner often does not have that luxury. He or she will need to accept that a bad situation has happened, try to learn from it, and then move on.
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