By Shaun Spearmon
For millions of faithful fans, Thursdays at 10 p.m. just won’t be the same. With the conclusion of the second season of Scandal, we will have to survive 6 months, void of our weekly dose of the lies, deceit, deception, and political scandal that Shonda Rhimes has us hooked on. So what are we to do?The show is brilliant, not just because it’s extremely entertaining, but because there are significant leadership lessons we can learn from Olivia Pope, the show’s protagonist and the head of Olivia Pope & Associates— affectionately known as OPA to us Scandalites. Like many leaders, Pope fixes hazardous situations on a daily basis, and ensures her clients are set-up for success. As a political fixer, she operates in a fast-moving, constantly changing environment, not unlike the corporate arena that many of you business types operate within on a daily basis.In 60 minutes, Pope yields results faster and works her way out of tighter situations than any other leader I’ve seen. Sure, she is fictional, but both Olivia Pope’s leadership prowess and her shortcomings are ripe with lessons that you can incorporate in your leadership toolbox immediately. So Gladiators, let’s go to work:
She’s transparent on vision and strategy: Like most leaders, Olivia Pope’s success is only achieved with the contributions of her team. Few leaders have real talent for aligning their people around a shared vision and strategy. For many, the pathway forward is so esoteric, or worse, closely guarded that their people couldn’t make meaningful contributions if they wanted to. By whiteboarding the who, what, where, how of the client engagement (i.e mug shots and documents on the wall), she shares all the details, her observations, and gets her team aligned with the situation, the next steps, and the ultimate goal. In the end, each team member feels confident they can pursue the strategy with the capability to anticipate Pope’s vision.