In exploring this compelling dynamic [Frank & Claire Underwood], House of Cards provides valuable partnership lessons for businesses. Here’s 5 lessons:
- Make sure your goals are aligned – Businesses thrive or suffer by the same principle. Unless the partners are all pointing the same way and making efforts towards a shared team goal, the business can’t achieve its full potential. The trick, however, is to figure out what people want individually and how those personal needs can be integrated with the bigger picture. In other words, a strong business isn’t just built from the top down but sideways as well.
- Mix business with friendship – Conventional wisdom says that you should not mix business with friendship (or marriage). That’s sometimes true, but a personal connection between business partners can actually enhance the commercial side of things as well.
- Partnerships don’t have to be cookie cutter – Businesses, similarly, can go much further by tapping the strongest talents of individuals and allowing them to soar instead of remaining mired in old-fashioned power structures and expectations. Successful companies like Alphabet [GOOGL], Tesla [TSLA], and Salesforce [CRM] that encourage innovation throughout the organization and “go beyond” lockstep corporate culture are good examples of the power of this approach.
- Keep your friends close, but keep your business partners even closer – In a fictional setting, this can be entertaining, but in the real world, businesses can suffer greatly if its people fly apart. Cohesion is essential to stability and success and for this reason it’s not just important for business partners to remain in sync but to maintain perspective even in the midst of tension. Actions committed in the heat of passion can come back to haunt all parties involved in the future. Don’t do what Frank and Claire do – keep your reactions in check.
- Lack of communication can become miscommunication – Honest communication may not solve every problem but it can certainly help to alleviate anger and frustration, which can then enable the parties to find some sort of compromise and move forward productively.
Original Posts: What Every Business Partner Could Learn From House of Cards [Fortune]
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