Three lessons your organization can learn from the return of “Dallas”

Did you see it?  You know, the return of the happenings at South Fork Ranch?  Television critics began speculating the return of J.R. several months ago.  Dallas was a weekly drama ratings hit in the 80’s.  Skeptics questioned whether the drama of reuniting this family of the 80’s with today’s young stars would ignite the same entertainment value for viewers.

Well, according to ratings and reviews, the formula worked.  J.R. is back along with his son John Ross and you guessed it, they are double-crossing each other while Bobby and his son Christopher keep trying to “do the right thing.”

Now whether you are a Dallas fan or not, don’t miss the opportunity to gain a leadership lesson from the strategy this television show is delivering.  In your organization or team, what can you learn from the characters on Dallas? Consider these three truths:

#1 It is possible to blend the old with the new.  It just takes effort.
The beauty of making Dallas work was blending the characters of the past (J.R., Bobby, Sue Ellen, etc.) with the hipness of today’s Hollywood.  Viewers had to believe the “new” story.  What can your team learn from this?  In your world, success requires that same blending of your team.  Your tenured employees bring a rich history to their work.  They have lived through the wins, losses and lessons learned that can only come with time.  As new employees join the team, they need to know that history and apply it to the freshness and future that a new perspective brings.  For this approach to work, leaders must facilitate the interaction and exchange of ideas.

#2 Something new is critical for growth.
Let’s face it.  The Dallas concept would not have worked if the network had simply written more scripts with the old gang.  A new story concept was needed to resurrect the characters and storylines.  The same is true for your organization.  Maintaining your sales or service has a timeline.  While you must keep your existing customers satisfied, without adding new customers or offering a new product to those exiting customers, sales will never increase.  So the question for your team: how often do we dedicate time to think about growing the business?  And in those conversations, do we encourage wild thinking and “what if” sessions?  That “crazy” idea may just be your next breakthrough product or service.

#3 Perspective of where you’ve been is important.
It’s entertaining to see how the Dallas writers have carried over the rivalry of J.R. and Bobby Ewing.  And you guessed it, that competition now exists with their sons.  An understanding of the past is what makes the new rivalry work between John Ross and Christopher.  That history with the family and South Fork creates today’s story.  Your business or team has that same history.  The stability your employees feel is based largely on the journey through the years that has built your team.  Don’t miss the opportunity to recognize that and celebrate what it means to your rich history.  2012 doesn’t just happen.  It’s the sweat and tears that began many years ago that has built today.  Your team needs to know that story too.

Who knows what the future will be for the Ewing clan.  No doubt, in true television fashion, episodes will be filled with twists and turns as viewers follow these characters again.  And guess what, your employees are “watching” you too.  Lead them in a way that keeps them coming back for more.

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