Let's zip back to 1988 and watch one of my favorite Harrison Ford movies . . . Working Girl! Yes, I know, Working Girl. I love this movie — it's a romantic comedy directed by Mike Nichols. It tells the inspiring story of Tess, a secretary, played by Melanie Griffith, who works in the mergers and acquisitions department of a Wall Street investment bank.
When her boss, Sigourney Weaver, breaks her leg skiing, Tess uses her absence and connections, including Weaver's boyfriend, Harrison Ford, to put forward her idea for a merger deal.
I can't believe it's 26 years old. So let's go to the business lessons:
Image Gets Your Foot In The Door.
Tess is a secretary — and back in 1988, there was a distinctive separation how secretaries and executives dressed. So she changes her whole wardrobe to fit in with the big guns.
What do you wear every day? First (and subsequent) impressions play a huge part with everyone you meet and interact with. Where do you dress with your peers? Do you wear t-shirts and shorts? Jeans?
If you want to play with the big boys and girls, you need to dress like them. Pay attention to what they wear — compliment their shirt, jacket, blouse and find out where they shop. Imitation is the sincerest form of getting ahead.
Who You Know Is As Important As What You Know.
Tess instantly realizes and proceeds to introduce herself to higher ranking people to get ahead.
Who do you hang around with? Who do you talk to? How's it working for you so far?
If you want to get ahead, move up and play with the adults, you need to begin to connect with other groups of influential people. Read this.
Getting Ahead Involves Taking Risks.
Throughout the movie, Tess takes calculated chances to get ahead, She absconds with her boss' wardrobe, crashes weddings, and barges into meetings.
I'm not saying for you to do that (it's a movie) — but you should step out on the ledge every so often to not only see the view, but to also move your career ahead — turbo style.
Get invited to that meeting, reach out to the dream client you always wanted to work with, ask for the business instead of shutting up. Take a chance every day.
You'll Never Know Where A Great Idea Might Come From.
Tess gets her brainstorm from reading her daily newspaper's gossip column and puts two-and-two together. It ultimately brings together two media titans and gives her a new job.
How do you get your ideas? When was the last time you pitched a new idea to your boss or client? A new product, offering or service?
You need to take a chance sometimes and tell other people — important people — influential people — your ideas. Read this.
Be Ready, In Case Opportunity Knocks.
As the scouts always say - Be Prepared.
Get your ideas in order. Get your style in order. Get your connections in order. Start taking risks. Because in the near future, someone will be knocking at your door.
Are you ready to answer it? To let them into your business? To sell them on an idea?
You only have one chance — time to make sure you can make it happen. Like this.
Do you like Working Girl? What other lessons did you get from it?
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P.S. Which rule resonated clearly with your career? Which one made you think twice? Let's talk. I've worked with a number of clients — and we developed a successful strategy to grow your career exponentially. If you’re not a client . . . pick up the phone and call me — I offer only one complimentary session each week.