If you are one of the fans of the hit TV series Billions, you are familiar with hot shot Bobby Axelrod, the self made Wall street billionaire of his successful hedge fund, Axe Capital. He is brilliant, ambitious and projects a confidence that can border on obnoxious or come across as arrogant. The show takes us on a roller coaster ride of high stake deals, the high flying billionaire lifestyle complete with its usual excesses, into the world of fierce competition, and behind the scenes corruption in financial dealings. There are many life and business lessons to pick up from this show, and from his brilliant mind and actions as a leader, but one that stood out was when Bobby Axelrod advised a new hire:
“Wherever you can, put a company in your mouth”
The meaning of this mind blowing statement is simple: Knowlege is power.
This is applicable in almost every area of life, but especially applicable in business, both as a business owner and as an employee. To put a company in your mouth is to know the in and outs of every facet of the business you are involved in. It means that you are going over and beyond to know what is happening in your company, your industry, to know what your competitors are doing and how you can stay ahead of the curve. It means that you are always prepared and you have made it difficult to be taken by surprise. As seen in the high risk, big reward moves made by Axelrod on Billions, this is a winners mindset.
As a business owner you should always be looking for new opportunities to acquire, process and distribute knowledge to your team. You should be encouraging and challenging your employees to be aware of all parts of the business, even those that do not directly involve them, so as a whole, everyone keeps the end and future goals in mind. Having intimate knowledge of your team members or employees helps you better evaluate their performance and know in which ways and areas they need to be pushed, or where to better direct their skills.
It means that you are always prepared and you have made it difficult to be taken by surprise
What does this mean as an employee?
At Paga, we have a quote on our office wall that states: “Strive not to be a success, but rather of value”. The best mindset to have as an employee is to think of yourself as a value creating asset for the company. Working in a company is being a part of the team; and every team member must do their part to feed into the success of the whole. So thinking in “I’s” does not create value for anyone but yourself.
As a walking company ambassador, it is advisable to have expert knowledge not only about your department but about the company as a whole, so you are always prepared to answer any questions. What should drive you should not be your individual performance but how that performance ties into the present and future results for the over arching plan and purpose. Knowledge is power, and knowledge gives you confidence. You can quickly become a star player if it is clear that your interest goes beyond your payslip.
If you have knowledge of the inner workings of your company, you will know where you need to insert yourself to be of value, and how best to rise within the ranks. Carrying out expansive research into competitors and industry puts you ahead of the curve and allows you to better aid your company’s growth, and depending on what you do, to negotiate deals on stronger footing.
So carry this statement “Put a company in your mouth” everywhere with you, and remind yourself that no matter where you fall on the chain, you are a value adding necessity to the big picture. If you must take something away from Billions, it should be that knowledge is the key to always being one step ahead of the competition.
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Making Life Possible is our ethos at paga, and it is what keeps us committed to our mission of providing inclusive financial services for all Nigerians. With over 15,000 agent outlets and 8 million+ customers, we are inspired by the stories of the community we are building and the people we are empowering by making life possible every single day.