4 Lessons About Business From “Empire”


I love a salacious nighttime soap and I’m not ashamed to admit it. As a kid watching old episodes of Dynasty with my grandmother, I wanted to grow up to be just like Blake Carrington or Dex Dexter (actually that’s a total lie, because I always loved Alexis Carrington the most).

Okay, so I’m grown up now and I’m not running an international oil corporation, but I’m fine with that. I made the foray into the exciting world of digital content marketing here at CleanPix.

I don’t typically have time to dedicate to watching television these days, but I can’t seem to get enough of Fox’s hit show, Empire. The program’s writing is groundbreaking and the music is incredible. But on top of all that, I’ve got to say that there are some great lessons presented in this show about succeeding in business.

Truth is, not unlike any other industry, the entertainment industry is cutthroat and crowded with people desperate to be noticed. That’s why you’ve got to be on your a-game, with a high level of self-awareness and a perceptive eye to what’s happening around you.

Let me break it down with a few key business lessons to take away from Empire:

  • Grow future leaders from within your organization. Just as Lucious Lyon was grooming his sons, Jamal, Hakeem and Andre to take over the family business, there should always be a succession plan in place within your organization for key leadership roles. It’s a fact of life now more than ever that your best people will eventually move on. It’s a new business world we live in, one where people are more comfortable moving around from company to company in pursuit of something different.
  • Love what you do. If you’re not passionate about your work, there really is no point. And let’s break it down even further: you get one kick at the bag in this life. Don’t waste it by doing something you despise just to make the rent. Cookie and Lucious live and breathe their work because they are so passionate about it. That’s how it should be for all of us (but perhaps with a  much healthier work-life balance than these characters).
  • Dress to impress. Cookie Lyon is the master at dressing to make a statement in the office. In this day and age, if you want to get ahead… BE DIFFERENT! This hasn’t always been the case in the business world, but today, originality and fresh thinking are embraced rather than viewed as a weakness.
  • Don’t date people you work with. This is common sense, and a lesson that nearly every single character in Empire needs to learn. Office relationships almost never end well. Having a clearly separated work and personal life benefits both your work performance and your stress levels outside of working hours.

Empire returns tonight on Fox and CityTV (note for millennials: the show will be available for streaming on AppleTV and Fox.com at midnight)

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