Chat with us, powered by LiveChat

Press play: 5 business lessons from the small screen

June 27, 2019

From Basil Fawlty and Michael Scott to YouTube’s motivational mega stars, the entertainment world is full of business lessons that will make you laugh – and cry. Whether it’s a cautionary tale of farcical proportions or the tough truth you need to hear, pressing play on these entertainment gems could put you on the fast track to success.


Customer service: What not to do

John Cleese’s iconic comedy of errors, Fawlty Towers, is a study in the importance of listening to your customers. Whether it’s the ingredients of a Waldorf salad (apples, walnuts, celery, grapes!), unwittingly serving breakfast to a deceased guest or breaking into the goose step in front of German guests, the hapless Basil Fawlty constantly disregards his customers’ needs as he battles to keep a very thin veil of functionality intact. The lesson? Forget what you think you know and listen to what your customers are asking for.

Being the boss: Lead with heart

While the habitually inappropriate Michael Scott would not survive any real-world HR department, The Office has much to teach about leadership. For all his faults, Scott cared about his employees over everything else. Despite plenty of cringe-worthy moments, he had their backs and they had his. He taught us that a good leader fights for his employees and that strong personal relationships are the lifeblood of any workplace culture. Just leave the sexual innuendo back in the 1980s.

The human touch: Empathy is essential

George Clooney’s Up in the Air reminds us that a robotic approach to human emotions only creates turmoil in the workplace. When a young upstart proposes terminating employees via videoconference rather than face-to-face, she soon discovers that a workplace without empathy is bad for business. And we learn that businesses that value productivity over human wellbeing are locked in an inevitable race to the bottom.

Leaders eat last: Help others to help yourself

“Become the leader you wish you had.” That’s Simon Sinek’s powerful message that has earned him more than 500,000 YouTube subscribers. He’s a proponent of leading with empathy and creating a ‘help-others’ workplace culture. He also teaches us that good leaders make their employees feel safe and has created The Golden Circle model for inspirational leadership.

Stop complaining: Thank God it’s Monday

Gary Vaynerchuk (aka GaryVee) is another YouTube star with motivational videos that have attracted more than 2 million subscribers. He takes a no-nonsense approach to personal motivation and believes that ego is a poison that stops us achieving our goals. He says practising patience – in business and in life – is the real secret to success, and reminds us to stop complaining and comparing ourselves to others in order to let go of the fear of failure that holds us back.

No matter what you like watching on the tube, there are lessons to be learnt – just watch your favourites and note how people are treating each other. Good or bad, you’re sure to see something that inspires. Or horrifies…