Many of the city’s movers and shakers headed to the Detroit Athletic Club Friday morning to discuss education and achievement opportunities at the fourth and final Pancakes and Politics conference of the year. Emmy Award-winning journalist Carol Cain served as moderator for the breakfast, and spared no one as she asked guest speakers tough questions about the future of distressed Detroit Public Schools.
There are times when pop culture is more than mere entertainment. Such is the case with the Netflix original series “House of Cards.” In this high-intensity political drama, Kevin Spacey plays Vice President Frank Underwood, a ruthless, power-hungry mastermind who will stop at nothing to get what he wants. What elevates “House of Cards” beyond your run-of-the-mill political drama is that all of us can apply Frank’s Machiavellian philosophies to our own workplace situations. Here are six ways to get ahead by asking yourself, “What would Frank do?” (WARNING: Spoilers ahead!)
Getting ahead in today’s workplace is tough, and you can bet that stress will come with the territory. Whether it’s wrangling votes to pass an important education bill or settling a score with a foreign dignitary, Frank stays on his A-game by keeping both his mind and body in tip-top shape. An early morning run with wife Claire or a sweaty half hour on his rowing machine helps to clear Frank’s mind for the hours of diabolical backstabbing that lay ahead. 30 minutes of brisk exercise every morning will help you clear your mind for the spreadsheets and staff meetings you face every day.
Occasionally Indulge in Stuff That’s Bad for You
All work and no play make Frank a dull boy. If you don’t want to be dull, do as Frank does and wallow in a few hedonistic pleasures once in a while! A trip to Freddy’s BBQ Joint for some greasy ribs, an end-of-the-day cigarette break with wife Claire…maybe even a secret rendezvous with a scrappy investigative reporter half his age. While unbridled power is the ultimate goal, these are just a few of the things that make Frank’s life worth living. Discover a few vices of your own and give in to them once in a while. Destroying your enemies shouldn’t be the only thing that brings a smile to your face.
Don’t Get Stuck in a Rut. Try New Things!
When a new and interesting opportunity presents itself to Frank, he goes for it! Perhaps you should too. While a three-way romantic interlude with your wife and your limo driver/bodyguard may not be your cup of tea, it will definitely be something that Frank, Claire and Edward Meechum will laugh about years from now. Doing the unexpected just might deliver unexpected results for you in your workplace. Go for it, and at the very least, you’ll have something interesting to recount during your next not-so-brief budget briefing.
Want to Really Influence Someone? Write a Letter.
Frank is no stranger to the latest in smartphone technology. Texts are great for curt “fix it now” style messages to flunkies like Chief of Staff Doug Stamper. However, when Frank needs to truly make an impact with the written word, he writes a hand-typed letter (on REAL paper) to none other than the President of the United States. Smart. When you really want to influence someone, do what your mother taught you: Write a hand-written note. Frank did, and now he’s the leader of the free world!
Delegate Important Matters to Those You Can Trust.
Speaking of Doug Stamper, it’s imperative that you instill absolute loyalty in those around you. Do you trust them with your life? Do you trust them to take a life if necessary? Maybe you think these questions don’t mean much when you’ve been tasked with procuring the punch and cookies for this month’s corporate-wide team member birthday bash. Frank would beg to differ. No matter how small the detail, fierce loyalty must be demanded from those working under you! And if that fails…
Take Matters into Your Own Hands.
Offing a U.S. congressman while making it look like a suicide? Pushing an intrepid reporter into the path of an oncoming train? Frank would tell you that these are the times when you just have to go it alone. Brainstorms and breakout sessions are great, but teamwork can only take you so far. Sometimes the lone wolf approach can reap great rewards in the workplace. Besides, if you ever get lonely, just turn your head to your imaginary friend and tell them exactly the way in which you intend to carry out your evil plan. You won’t feel lonely anymore.
Are you a “House of Cards” fan? Let us know what you’ve learned from the show in the comments section below!