3 Lessons Learned from the TV Show House of Cards

Carmel Valley San Diego Community | Felena Hanson | House of Cards ImageI am a Netflix junkie.  If I have free time on weekends (which is rare), I love to devour television dramas and mysteries.  My latest addiction is House of Cards, featuring Kevin Spacey as a corrupt politician that you love to hate and hate to love.  His southern drawl and manipulative chess game were worthy of the Emmy award they just received.  As soon as I finished Season 1, I was blown away and immediately craving a Season 2.  I wasn’t the only one that fell in love with the show, my colleague Skyler McCurine, had a hard time walking away from the television set when congressman, Frances Underwood (played by Kevin Spacey) was getting ready to throw another politician under the bus.

When we consume media, there is always something to be learned.  Evaluating what you have witnessed and questioning what you have digested is the most powerful tool that we as media consumers have.  I took a moment to evaluate Underwood’s influence. While his behaviors are not exactly “saint worthy”, there are some things that can be learned.  Here are three things learned from the House of Cards:

1. Know your Network

Everyone is in Frances Underwood’s back pocket.  He knows his colleagues’ quirks, idiosyncrasies, and much to their demise, he knows their vices.  His deep knowledge of other’s strengths and weaknesses allows Frances to use each person for his benefit.  He knows where he can go in the massive city of D.C. to get the best BBQ and who to visit to get the President of the United States to pass a bill.  He knows the homeless man down the street to the top of the “food chain”.  We do not want you to run out and manipulate your neighbors so they buy your product but we do want you to be mindful of the connections you have in place and the strengths of each person.  The next time you are struggling with something, need input or a strategic alliance, you will know exactly where and who to turn to.

2. Delegate

This is something I have never been very good at.  I would rather complete something myself, then wait for someone else to finish it.  When I do it, it’s under my control.  I have to remind myself that there is great strength in collaboration.  We all know this but how often do we do it and use it to our advantage.  The next step in knowing your network is actually UTILIZING it.  For those of you that have ample work and employees or interns, why aren’t you sharing the load.  Delegation is about trust.  The conniving congressman, trusts that when he tells someone to do something, it will be done.  He has selected his inner circle and has placed his trust in them.  Being confident in who selected to be part of your network–use your employees, trust your interns, involve your assistants, and delegate to your significant others (you have washed your last dish!).

3. Always see the Bigger Picture

House of Cards features an image of Frances Underwood that says “Bad for the greater good”.  This is exactly why you hate Frances but also love him, he does evil in order to achieve political influence and to create real change; something that can be difficult in D.C. due to all of the politics (hahaha, I had to).  He also donates money, supports non-profits, etc. to be able to support the community (and while he does usually receive a kickback) he thinks strategically, always connecting the dots.  France’s day is revolved around the bigger picture, even though he is in the weeds (like a true snake in the grass) he is constantly asking, “will this get me where I need to go?”

House of Cards is a political chess game that is mystifying, terrifying, but thoroughly engaging.  We all have a little Frances Underwood within us (a chilling thought I know). Comb out the best elements of his audacious personality to improve your business, strengthen your network, delegate tasks, and always work with YOUR big picture in mind.

House of Cards Video Discussion 

Carmel Valley San Diego Community | Felena Hanson Profile PicFelena is a long-time entrepreneur and marketing maven.  Her latest venture, Hera Hub, is a spa-inspired shared workspace for female entrepreneurs. This as-needed, flexible work and meeting space provides a productive environment for women who primarily work from home.  Hera Hub members have access to a professional space to meet with clients and to connect and collaborate with like-minded business owners, thus giving them the support they need to be prosperous.  Cost-effective monthly membership options are suited for freelancers, independent consultants, entrepreneurs, nonprofits, and authors.

Hera Hub is much more than just a shared workspace; it’s a community of like-minded entrepreneurial women who find the additional resources, such as special classes, workshops, and one-on-one support essential for their business growth. The first San Diego location is conveniently located in Sorrento Valley.  By the end of 2012 Hera Hub will have additional locations in Mission Valley & Carlsbad.

Felena is passionate about education, earning her Bachelor’s degree in Marketing from the University of San Diego and her MBA from California State University Dominguez Hills.  She taught Marketing and Entrepreneurship at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising and at California State University Dominguez Hills for the MBA online program for eight years. Felena was most recently rewarded for community efforts, as she was awarded the “Women Business Owner of the Year Award” by the local chapter of the National Organization of Women Business Owners.


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