Business Lessons Inspired from the Professor and Team Money Heist
I never expected I will write an article about a Netflix Series and that too a Spanish show, even worst its about heist. But seriously, Money Heist is one of a kind, and I drew a lot of inspiration from it. Thinking about the professor and his nerdy, mild demeanor, one would not expect him to be the world’s most wanted criminal who meticulously planned the heist at the Royal Mint.
If you had paid attention, you could learn a lot from this series. Here are 9 business lessons every organization should learn from the series Money Heist
1. Leadership Is The Key
Professor, the captain of this heist has all the qualities of a leader. He is undoubtedly knowledgeable, kept his words, low key, had empathy for every life. His rules were clear, not to kill anyone. He was out there fixing all the loose ends, putting his life on the line. He guided his team with a clear head, through the darkest times when there were confusion and chaos all over the Royal Mint.
Leadership should be guided by knowledge, experience, honesty, humility, empathy, and grace. –Obama
2. Build a great team
I am amazed by how the director builds this team. No one could have explained team building better. Professor recruited the best possible team to execute the heist. Right from Berlin who led the team from inside. He put his life on the line (eventually sacrificed) to save his team. The eight of them Tokyo, Moscow, Berlin, Nairobi, Rio, Denver, Helsinki, and Oslo were all unique.
There are 4 types of team members
The Ambitious Performer – Nairobi
This type of team member is smart, eager to learn, and well-balanced individuals. They work well under pressure and not only get along well but also can inspire others.
Ηighly-functional Ιntrovert – Helsinki, Olso, Moscow
These members are the pillars of the organization. They are effective, productive, and provide stability to the team. They love what they do and want to get it done. They are quiet but always pleasant. They are neither thought leaders or innovators, rather, they are the doers.
The Anxious Warrior – Rio, Denver
They always rush to get the thing done while complaining about their workload. If not handled properly they can easily break down due to anxiety. They are not always sure about the choices they make and feel unhappy with one thing or the other (position or their workload).
The Intense Temperament – Tokyo
This is the most tricky of all team member’s personality traits. Sometimes their behavior may seem irrational. This personality has a low patience threshold and is the most difficult one to manage. They express sudden bursts of anger or become easily irritated by minor incidents.
They all had their flaws. Tokyo did not always stick to the plan. Denver didn’t follow the leader’s instructions. You will never get a perfect team. And that’s exactly my point. Hire the best team and learn to live with their flaws. Smart people tend to be different.
3. Learning goes a long way
Professor did not plan everything overnight. As a bedridden sick child, he had a lot of time. All he did was read a lot of books, stories about the heist from his father, news, collected articles, and learned every possible move. He specifically learned all the wrong moves.
Time and time again, you might have heard, successful business executives read books. Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Elon Musk, and every self-made billionaire have one thing in common. They read, a lot, in the process learn.
4. Perseverance – Believe in your team
The professor did not connect for 24 hours, Oslo was down, Moscow was sick, Berlin was not stable, Tokyo was gone, Rio broke down and leaked the crucial escape plan, the whole team was struggling without sleep and with all this Arturo was causing chaos. Could you imagine yourself for a second in that spot?
This is where perseverance comes to play. Every successful business has its dark moments. But the only way to get thru it is by courage, kindness, and selflessness. This is the time to help where we can and be there for each other as friends, co-workers.
5. No Plan Is Perfect – Improvise
And speaking of planning, the Professor was a genius planner. He meticulously planned every possible move well ahead like, the Plan Valencia, Plan Cameroon, Plan Chernobyl, etc. But, this is not a perfect world as one would think. In fact, it’s just the opposite. So they improvised. When Berlin was out of control, Nairobi took in charge, when they realized that the didn’t have enough time to print 2.4 Billion euros, they stopped with 984 Million.
Even if you have the perfect business plan, they might have blindspots. Who would have imagined WeWorks would fail?
6. Relationships Matter the most
The foremost rule of the professor was no personal relationships. And that was the first rule (almost) everyone broke. The heist team worked together for 6 months thru thick and thin and became a family. As Nairobi said, this was the best family she has had in years. This relationship held them together during tough times.
So are teams in your company. You work with a team for a few months to years and you can’t pretend to remain a Manager or Lead. In order to build a resilient team, you need a strong bond, and your organizational hierarchy will not help there, relationships will.
7. Stay ahead of the competition
Professor was at least 2 steps ahead of the National Police. Switching the popular painter’s masks when they identified a police intruder, planting a bug in Angel’s (Undercover Police) spectacles, or destroying the loose ends. The team was always ahead, this is easier said than done. The professor worked out all possible moves and was ready with a plan for each move.
Like the professor says, business is also like chess. Stay ahead and plan for all the unlikely events. Who would have expected COVID-19 to lock down the entire world?
8. Identify the Potential Source of Troubles
Arturo Román – was one of the most troublesome hostages. He planned escapes, victimized the weak links to execute his plan, and was not successful in any of them. He tried to provoke a riot amongst the hostages that led to the death of Oslo.
He could have been stopped way early. Businesses need to pay attention to such blind spots, things, and partnerships that are slowing them down. They will look helpful and act like one, but eventually, they could hurt your business or ever worst be the reason for your fallout. Find them early on and stop them.
9. The Golden Circle – Why, What & How
Dressed in red jumpsuits with a mask of the Spanish painter what was their message, I meant “WHY”? They had a clear WHY WHAT and HOW.
WHY – RESISTANCE. In 2011 the union central bank made €171 billion from the public. €185 Billion in 2012, €145 billion in 2013. All this money went to the bankers in the name of liquidity injections. European central bank was a thief. They wanted to resist the banks that put all this money in the pocket of the rich.
WHAT – They wanted to print their own money, just like how the European central bank did it for the bankers.
HOW– By engaging a group of talented but broke individuals who wanted to become rich and escape from all of this.
No business without a clear WHY WHAT & HOW has ever succeeded. Steve Jobs didnt sell beautiful Apple Devices, instead he “challenged the status quo”. Take a step back and use “why” to think about your own business.
This is the only 4th series I have ever watched ( after Prison Break, House of Cards & Blacklist). But it was time well spent with family and it made me think about various aspects of life and business. I wish to write another article about this once I watch season 5. If you have a different perspective or if you have learned something else, please do share it with me. After all, we are here to learn and share!