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5 Great Business Lessons Learned From Mike Ross Of 'Suits'

Harvey Specter from “Suits,” is among the most evocative characters to personify the powerful, charming, ambitious, successful businessman.

He knows how to play the game and he knows how to get what he wants. He's not afraid of a knife fight and he's not afraid of fighting fair when the enemy's fair, too.

However, the character of Mike Ross, is equally — if not more — interesting (although less explored). Resonating with a lot of Gen-Y's entrepreneurs, he's ambitious and intelligent, although a bit naive and makes the occasional mistake.

He gives value to his emotions, he attacks usual problems in unexpected ways and he overcomes obstacles to complete any task at hand.

Here are five points I've learned from Mike Ross:

1. Mistakes are fine.

Nobody's perfect and Mike Ross perfectly exemplifies it. He makes mistakes. When the facts he obtains from his eidetic memory don't allow him to forecast bad surprises, or when he wants to compromise his or Harvey's winning position in order to help someone, he sometimes screws up. This happens to all of us in life.

However, when Mike makes a mistake, he always finds ways to recover and come out on top. Naturally, just like in the real world, this isn't always possible.

In today's world, where we always strive for perfection and don't cut ourselves any slack, Mike's character teaches us a valuable lesson: It's not all over just because you made a mistake. Learn from it; grow stronger; become better.


2. Always be fact-oriented.

Mike displays the importance of objective facts. The fact that he has an eidetic memory and can recall any fact, number, sentence or even document, provides for interesting twists in the show.

However, the crucial lesson is this: You need facts. Be it to defend a position, to make a claim or to defend yourself from a claim, you must always reference real information. Especially in the business world, it's easy to make claims, to have ideas and to try approaches without validating them with real, cold-hard data.

Mike's character, with his eidetic memory, reminds us of just how important facts are, especially when the stakes are high and the margin for error is low. Everything you say is more valuable when it's verifiably true.


3. Sometimes, you need to try the unexpected angle.

It's a common misconception that the most frequently used approach is the best way to solve a given problem. Sometimes, we still try the front approach even when the sides or the back are completely open.

Just like fighter Anderson Silva proves in MMA, one of the abilities that can make you excel is to attack from angles nobody else would have thought to try. This goes for any problem in any area of life.

Mike repeatedly shows how to tackle a problem from an unexpected angle. He finds exceptions and creative angles on laws, witness testimonials and other situations. He finds openings to problems that seemed to not have had solutions beforehand.


4. Have fun and enjoy the ride.

In the world of business, especially when the stakes are high, it's easy to become stressed, worn out, jaded. Well, it's important that we enjoy the process, too. The hard parts will be hard and the easy ones will be easy, but at the end of the day, we still need to do all of them.

Mike is a good example of how we should all strive to enjoy the ride. He plays to win and he's not afraid to take risks. But, he never becomes tired or affected by situations. When the team is victorious, he celebrates, and when they're in trouble, he stops to think about how to overcome the obstacles.


5. Win or lose, loyalty trumps everything.

On “Suits,” Mike doesn't always win. Most of the time, him and Harvey win brilliantly, but sometimes, they crash spectacularly. Still, regardless of the outcome, they always stick together.

When someone betrays Harvey, it's a betrayal to Mike, as well. Just as when someone does a good thing for one, it's a good thing for the other, too.

The Harvey and Mike team sticks together through good and bad. Even in situations where Mike goes behind Harvey's back to try an unapproved strategy or because Mike thinks Harvey's wrong, the two work toward a common goal, and they stick together in the end.

Photo via Suits

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Vasco Patrício

Contributor

Vasco is a contributing writer based in Boston, MA and Lisbon, Portugal. Having co-founded two Enterprise Data startups and having pursued mentoring roles, Vasco participates in the BGI startup accelerator within the MIT-Portugal initiative.
Vasco is a contributing writer based in Boston, MA and Lisbon, Portugal. Having co-founded two Enterprise Data startups and having pursued mentoring roles, Vasco participates in the BGI startup accelerator within the MIT-Portugal initiative.

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