15 Business Lessons From Sopranos (TV Show)

Who Would Have Thought That It Is Possible to Learn Actual Business Lessons From Sopranos? But Here We Are.

6 seasons.

86 episodes.

Multiple awards and several fantastic business lessons. Let’s jump right in at number 1.

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Cash Is King

You’ve probably heard that saying before, and before you think we’re advising you to do underhanded cash deals, hear us out.

It’s no secret that Tony does well financially, and part of the reason is that he has cash flow from small businesses that generate quick cash. A pizza restaurant for one, where you make a pizza, and you exchange the pizza for cash. You’re not sending an invoice out for a pizza that needs to be paid in 30 days. It’s instant.

Of course, there are up-front costs, but once the doors open – you start generating business right away.


Follow the Same Rules You Expect Others To

Aluxers, you’ve probably had a boss that always leaves work early, arrives late and sets a poor example.

So often, leaders play by their own rules but are sadly, setting a sh*tty example for their employees. Even the subtle cues are picked up by staff and it filters down from top to bottom.

We’re not saying that Tony set a good example, in fact, he reinforces what a boss shouldn’t do – and that is so often how lessons are learnt.

He used to often refer to Christopher Moltisanti’s drug habit, but he was guilty of that too. He was very impulsive, and quite arrogant at times – all qualities that a good leader should not have.

If you’d like to be a great leader, we’ve many videos with great advice to be that leader. Just be sure to subscribe to our channel.


Have Empathy

We are often led to believe that in business one must be ruthless and hard but having empathy doesn’t take away from good business.

Some might disagree, but we believe that very often, Tony handled other people or staff’s issues with insight and level headedness.

We can’t say he had the same grace with his family all the time, but that leads us to our next point.


Everyone Has Flaws

Tony knew he had anger issues, and he did go for therapy to help himself. Granted, he gave up on therapy more than once – but who hasn’t? He kept going back.

Just because you’re a leader or at the top of your game in business, doesn’t mean you are flawless. There is always something to fix, something to improve on.


Mistakes Have Consequences

Tony Soprano once said, “There’s an old Italian saying: you f**k up once, you lose two teeth.” Well, you probably won’t lose 2 teeth every time you make a mistake, but in business – and in life – when you mess up, there are repercussions.

Learn from them, fix them with dignity and don’t play the blame game.

If you love your series and you love your business, be sure to catch our video: 


Create the Illusion of Control

In the beginning, Corrado “Junior” Soprano – Tony’s uncle is head of the family. This doesn’t last long though, as Tony is rather smart at making Junior believe that the orders, he is giving out are his own, meanwhile – they’re actually Tony’s.

Aluxers, very often in business you get a client that comes with a cr*ppy idea, and you know this is never going to work. So, you manage the client in such a way that they change their idea but credit themselves with the new concept. By doing this, your client will see a return on investment, and everyone is happy.


Be Decisive

It was once said on the show, “More is lost by indecision than by wrong decision.” And that’s spot on. Tony Soprano dealt with problems swiftly and with decisive action.

He gave warnings where needed, but he didn’t beat about the bush when someone was really hopeless. He was a straight-talker, and in business – you need to be direct and clear in your instructions, vision and goals – so that everyone is on the same page.

And seriously, Aluxers, how often does one employee bring a whole team down? It’s not sustainable, and you need a leader that can sort out the root problem and move forward for the benefit of everyone.


Have Old School Values

Tony has major respect for the generations that came before him. He understands and appreciates the journey they took to make a success of it.

He tries to encourage loyalty, the importance of family and taking personal responsibility – but like in any family, it often falls on deaf ears. Or you don’t truly understand the value until you become a parent yourself.  

Tony also realizes that although one always respects one’s elders, they don’t always know better. Which is why he subtly encouraged Junior to make different decisions, believing they were his own – like we mentioned earlier.

If you want to learn the values that can steer you towards success, check out 10 Most Important CORE VALUES for SUCCESS.


Understand Your Team’s Abilities

Any good boss or leader is in tune with his staff’s strengths and weaknesses, and they encourage them to work on their weaknesses and allow their strengths to shine through.

Christopher Moltisanti is a prime example – hot headed, not a team player and hard to trust. Tony knows all these flaws and decides to mentor him. Eventually, it doesn’t work out, and he detaches himself from the situation.

As hard as what that may be, there will always be times in business when you choose to fight for someone or something, or you choose to walk away and only you will know when you’re ready to do either.


Be Willing to Negotiate

Being willing and open to negotiating is integral in business. Tony proved many times that he was willing to negotiate, especially in the later episodes when he began showing signs of ill health.

He tried to find ways that would benefit everyone involved so that nobody was left feeling like they’d got the short end of the stick.

And obviously, the negotiation examples we refer to are not linked to any sort of “negotiation,” where there really wasn’t room for the other person to have their say without the literal fear of death, because that’s not quite how it happens in the business world.


Network Often

Aluxers, even the mafia must network to connect with like-minded individuals. It’s no secret that networking is the basis for any successful business, and The Soprano’s do it well.

Sure, they might be hooking up with the next hitman, or sourcing information about the next big job – but it’s still networking at the end of the day.

Tony Soprano is the ultimate networker, but despite being really good at talking the big talk, Tony is a good example of just how lonely it can be at the top.

In his words, “All due respect, you got no f—g idea what it’s like to be Number One. Every decision you make affects every facet of every other f—g thing. It’s too much to deal with almost. And in the end, you’re completely alone with it all.”


Your Family and Theirs Is Important

Behind every successful businessperson is a family that loves and supports him or her. And if you’re the big boss, remember the same applies for your staff. Yes, you’re paying them a salary to do a job, but if you’re empathetic to their family needs and commitments, you will find they will be even more dedicated to your company or business.

In the Soprano’s, family is always first. Tony says, “I don’t care how close you are: in the end, your friends are gonna let you down. Family. They’re the only ones you can depend on.”

Getting a good work / home balance can be challenging, and a good leader will know and understand that if an employee’s home life is good and functioning well, it will lead to a more productive and focused workday.


Even at the Top, There Is Someone to Answer To

When you’re a mob boss, you have to consider a lot of people in your doings. When you’re at the top of your company or business, it’s the same situation. You’ll need to consider your staff, your shareholders, investors, other directors and advisors. Then of course, you’ll need to answer to the financial guys – and that can be daunting.

Yes, Tony Soprano had his own agenda, but he knew when he had to reel things in to keep everyone happy.

However, as integral it is, there is always room for fun. Like Junior Soprano once said, “You steer the ship the best way you know. Sometimes it’s smooth. Sometimes you hit the rocks. In the meantime, you find your pleasures where you can.”


Be Brave Enough to Implement Change

Isn’t it so true that great things never come from your comfort zone? And as a leader in business, it will often be up to you to push your staff to do better, be greater and step out of their comfort zones.

In every workplace, change is resisted. You’ll get the “but we’ve always done it this way,” retort – and it’s up to you to call them out for it and keep implementing the changes you know are necessary.

Tony Soprano was open to change and we saw that in multiple examples. One example was in the first season when he called off a hit on the high-school soccer coach who was sexually abusing Meadow’s girlfriend. He left it to the police to deal with.

And remember, change is relative. So, be patient with your staff when you implement change, but only up to a point. And then be brave enough to ensure everyone adheres to the change.


Accountability Is From Top Down

Tony accepted responsibility and was accountable for his actions, unlike many leaders who like to pass the buck.

When you’ve got a team below you, and you’re the boss – you’re 100% responsible for their actions too.

Customer’s don’t care whose fault it was, they want the problem to be acknowledged and fixed. What you do behind the scenes as the boss in order to fix it, are not the concerns of the client.

So, man or woman up, take responsibility and be accountable, and that attitude will filter down to all your staff.


What did you take away from the series? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

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