Walter White: Management Guru? </br>The Business of Breaking Bad
Like a lot of TV viewers, I've been obsessed with the return of AMC's Breaking Bad. Back for its final season, fans across the country are on the edge of their seats to see what will come of Walter White. And as I watched this past Sunday's episode, I couldn't help but be reminded that the show is not only one of the greatest TV dramas created, it's also one of the best shows about business ever.
Where most programs would simply show Walt cooking, selling and reaping the rewards, Breaking Bad went into the nitty gritty of supply chains, distribution networks and real estate (where exactly is the best place to site a meth lab?). While I'm not sure there are a ton of specific economic lessons to be learned from the show beyond how to use a car wash to launder money, Breaking Bad does provide another illustration of one key tenet of business: always think one step ahead and game out the possible implications of every decision.
Of course, this is especially true in communications, where we always counsel clients to be prepared for every scenario, have a crisis plan in place and stage mock drills to find the holes in that plan.
Some of the questions we advise clients to ask themselves are: What kind of regulatory issues are you exposed to? What new technologies could potentially disrupt your business? Can the new partnership you just entered into go bad? If so, in what ways? And if any of these things do come to pass, how will you explain the situation to employees and shareholders and convince them that the actions you're taking to turn things around are the right ones?
I'm still relatively new here, but as far as I know, neither our agency nor any of our clients have reason to fear murderous cartels or crusading DEA agents. Still, there are always things each of us could stand to better think through and prepare for.
I have no idea what will happen to Walt this season. But if he survives, perhaps there's a job for him somewhere as a management or communications guru.