I watched Billions for an unexpected 5 episodes last Saturday and it was stupendous. Looking for a lesson so I feel better about the hours invested with the show instead of doing the Saturday things I usually do, I came out of my 5 hour binge session with several insights.
So, if you don’t watch Billions I am not saying go watch it because you may be like me hours later no shower, crumbs on your hoodie with chores still left to do. But the show is about a big time US attorney and hedge fund business owner. They both are very good at what they do and are often at odds with one another always looking to one up the other and finish him like Mortal Kombat. Both have teams of people they manage, both think quick on their feet and are determined to win.
After watching, because while I was watching I was totally zoned into the story, I found the first takeaway on teamwork. I think as solopreneurs, freelancers, entrepreneurs, people who get the damn job done, we do so much alone. It’s like we are looking to prove a point to someone all of the time that we can do all of it and we can do all of it all alone. That’s bad news. It is great to get an idea started. The importance of moving on an instinct or an idea once it comes to mind and actually crossing it off of the list instead of keeping it on the list as something you wish to do is crucial to knocking things off of both the to-do and wishlists of life. However, there is always a point when the proper help can expedite a certain process or outcome. A task that would take someone days to do alone can be done in hours with help. Both main characters on Billions not only have help, not only use their collaborators, teammates and employees, they depend on them. Items delegated to others is prominent in getting things done quick, fast and in an accurate manner.
Adding to having others help get the job done, is having the right people on the right jobs. it’s critical. Once we know a potential helper’s strengths it is up to us to ask for help or delegate a task to the very person, people or team that will get it done the right way. Sending the work to the wrong people (something we may do often) will put a bad taste in our mouth and make us want to just do it ourselves because we know we’ll get it done. Yes, we will get it done but maybe not as fast. Maybe sending the team who focuses on the problem we are looking to solve will free us of the time and stress of doing it ourselves. And when the right work is sent to the right people and those proper people do a great job and they do it fast, that feeling is orgasmic! You reflect and wonder why have you been torturing yourself doing things alone when others get it done in fractions of the time and even better than we could have done. Might be an ego blow at first. That’s fine. The free time or time to move to other projects is a better feeling than the little blow to the ego that someone else is actually better at something than we are.
Knowledge in the head
This is something I learned in college and it stuck with me. Knowledge in the head is the information you retain and can call on and pull up and spit out with no hesitation. You know it. Many characters on the show especially the main characters, their knowledge in the head is impeccable. They have an impressive ability to quickly come up with answers on the spot to complex questions and problems. And again, they also know just as quick who to call on that knows what they may not know. They get that person or team of people on a problem quick fast, wasting no time and they are definitely not worried that they do not know, they act in seconds and keep moving forward.
It may feel extra to know things, to retain info these days because there so much content out there. A key is to know what may help you. Knowledge in your field of work and fields that are complimentary can make a major difference in both productivity and in negotiations. Can’t search Google in an interview.
Determination & Competition
The level of competition the characters have on Billions is so real. Almost everyone on the damn show wants to win so bad. With that, their work ethic and determination to focus, think, move and act quick is uncanny. Inspiring. We will come close to and meet defeat, failure and loss a lot more than we would like or have planned. We have to know to dust ourselves off, maybe take a quick break and then get right back to it. There is no time to sit back and be sad or hurt because at that very same time the competitors are revising strategies and going to get it.
Working for your why
The main characters in Billions have big reasons for why they work so hard. Even if that hard work is to straight shut the other one down any way they can, their “why” is super clear. They know what they are doing, and when. They know who is going help them get the job done and why that person or group of people specifically, they know they are better off getting help in the first place and that some things will and need to be done quick and others take time but either way it will get done.