This week Netflix dropped Season 3 of House of Cards. And between binge watching the entire season, I started thinking about what Frank would do if he were in my position. And let’s be honest, Frank would be masterful at it. So let’s break down why and maybe learn some lessons about how we can incorporate some of his tactics, but not all, because well, that would be insane.
1. Singularity – Throughout the first two seasons, Frank had one goal and one goal only. Get to the oval office. He kept his eye on the prize in all things. So if you’re having trouble getting results, maybe there’s too much noise and competing priorities for you to really succeed. What is your ultimate goal, does everything you’re doing line up under that goal? If not, why? Could be you’re trying too hard to make everyone happy and forgetting the big picture? Be like Frank. Focus.
2. Strategy – If there’s any skill that Frank excels at, it’s strategy (and maybe snarky direct-to-the-camera asides). He plans, or rather plots, at all times. There isn’t an action Frank takes that doesn’t drive him toward his ultimate goal and isn’t planned out ahead of time. And he thinks through all the variables, so he’s ready for unexpected outcomes. Admittedly, sometimes he got carried away with his actions and it didn’t always work out for him. And it won’t for you either, but the lesson is about intention. If everything you’re doing is with intention, toward that singular goal, you’re going to have more successes than failures.
“There can be no false steps now. The higher up the mountain, the more treacherous the path.” – Frank Underwood
3. Partnership – Now, there aren’t too many people that Frank didn’t step on along the way. Not a course I’m recommending. However, what Frank does have going for him is his brilliant wife and counterpart. They are lockstep in their goal to get to the white house and then keep it. So when it comes to you and the rest of your company, you better be joined at the hip–particularly with sales, they are your counterpart at the tip of the spear. If you’re out of alignment on what that ultimate goal is, your efforts will fail and you’ll blame each other for it. I’ve been there, it’s not fun.
4. Messaging – It’s all about what you say and to whom. No one does this better than Frank. Following his strategic plan, he’s meeting, charming and disarming the right people at the right time with the right message. This is where the rubber meets the road. This is your performance. Whether you and your team (and I mean the entire company top to bottom ) are talking to potential clients or existing clients and whether you’re doing it on social media, in person, in the grocery line or wherever, the message has to be spot on and planned out. Master this and you’ll make it to your own version of the oval office.
“After all, we are nothing more or less than we choose to reveal” – Frank Underwood
5. Break some rules – When you’re looking at a problem and can’t figure out a solution, it might be time to challenge some long-held beliefs. Times are changing and marketing is definitely changing every day. Still think it’s best to send your emails at 6:00 a.m. Tues-Thurs? Those used to be the rules, but it really depends on what you’re trying to achieve. On their blog, Mailchimp does some deep analysis of send times by product and industry that might surprise you. Some companies are seeing better results on the weekends. Try it out, think outside the box. Got a boss who thinks your idea won’t work? Mabye you should do it anyway. Bosses are wrong, a lot. Just be prepared to face the music afterward, but do it with conviction.
“Of all the things I hold in high regard, rules are not one of them.” -Frank Underwood
6. Be aggressive about what you want – Ok, maybe not Frank Underwood aggressive, no need to push anyone in front of a train. But no need to wait for what you want either. If you’re sitting on the sidelines complaining about how you can’t get the support or approval or whatever, quit it and just make it happen. Read my post about complaining and solving your own problems here.
“If you don’t like how the table is set, turn over the table.” -Frank Underwood
Not everyone loves Frank or his less-than-moral practices, but you can’t argue with the effectiveness of some of his tactics. It boils down to having a goal, not letting anyone get in your way and seeing it through. Now, if you’ll excuse me I have the rest of the season to cram in.