Monday, February 06, 2012

The Good Wife School of Brilliant Revelations


One of my favorite characters on the hit show "The Good Wife," is Elsbeth Tascioni, played brilliantly by Carrie Preston. Always stealing the scene, Elsbeth is one of those unlikely heroes that miraculously saves the day, no matter what the situation. She's once too clever, and it works. In the most recent episode that aired last week, she comes up with a brilliant strategy to help out Will in his Grand Jury trial, while last season she helped Alicia out of a sticky government situation. 
Whenever I watch an episode where Elsbeth is featured, I find myself thinking about how I haven't met too many Elsbeths, and how her "techniques" might work in everyday life, business, entrepreneurship, etc. 
Here are just a few "Elsbethisms" to consider:
  • Be humble. Elsbeth never acts like a know-it-all, she just does her job and does it well. 
  • Listen and pay attention. Elsbeth always gets all the information first, before taking action. She also takes notice of the little things, such as people's clothing and jewelry, which can help catch them off guard.
  • Allow yourself the brilliant revelation. Elsbeth has these cathartic moments when she achieves a key revelation that ends up winning her case. It can happen anywhere --in an elevator, or a hallway. She stays flexible and open to the moment.
  • Strategy Strategy Strategy. As a lawyer, it's Elsbeth's job to come up with a brilliant plan to save her clients. She usually does this by getting into people's heads, to figure out what they'll do next. That's how she predicts future behavior, and how she deduced ahead  of time that Alicia would be called to testify during Will's Grand Jury trial.
  • Mindful fumbling. Just like Columbo in the seventies, Elsbeth has moments when she's all over the place. I'm not saying to act confused in real life, but when you admit you've made mistakes, or you can't find your phone, it can endear you to others, who might identify with you and see that you're human.
  • Be ethical. At one point when she sees Will and Kalinda whispering, she states: you're not doing anything bad, right? I mean, like illegal...Elsbeth may have tricks up her sleeve, but she's always ethical.
  • Be Persistent. Elsbeth isn't shy about directly approaching her opponents while they are going about their daily lives, and she doesn't go away just because they ask her to. She gets what she needs, and then moves on.
So, how about you? Do you like Elsbeth's character, and do you see any parallels in her style, for your business or life?

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