Get Scandalous: Five Lessons We Can Learn From Olivia Pope And “Scandal”

October 18, 2012  |  

The second season of Shonda Rhimes’s latest hit show Scandal is generating all kinds of buzz, and that’s largely because of Kerry Washington’s excellent portrayal of the commanding and capable crisis manager, Olivia Pope. Every Thursday, we watch in awe as our beloved heroine make moves and power plays among Washington’s elite. She’s smart, she’s fierce and she’s always impeccably dressed. We love her. We want to be like her. Here is a list of valuable lessons we can learn from Olivia Pope.

Keep Your Friends (and Enemies) Close.

It long has been said that you should keep your friends close and your enemies closer. No doubt Olivia Pope has mastered that. Many times she finds herself on the one side of a scandal, while U.S. Attorney David Rosen is on the other side determined to bring about justice. Olivia is not afraid to convince him to call off the dog, or use her influence to through David off the trail. However, Olivia knows she has to keep him close so she will always gets what she needs.

Say It and Mean It.

The way Olivia Pope seems so sure of herself, you could hardly imagine her fretting over what she’s going to wear every day. She does everything on purpose. When Olivia negotiates with her clients, she doesn’t waiver, she puts reality on the table and tells them what she’s going to do. Olivia Pope takes her promises, threats and decisions seriously, and so does everyone around her. Even when Fitz begged Olivia to keep their affair going, when she hung up the phone, he got the message loud and clear. The next time you find yourself in a situation when you have to make a difficult decision, be like Olivia. Say it, mean it and own it.

Don’t Tip Your Hand…Unless It’s Absolutely Necessary.

Remember when Olivia Pope hired Quinn Perkins? No one knew why, not even Harrison who was sent out to “recruit” her. Even toward the end of Season 1 when Quinn’s real identity was called in to question, Olivia didn’t reveal the truth. She kept Quinn’s secret safe until she felt it was absolutely necessary to tell the rest of the associates. Olivia shows us how we don’t have to put our business out there, but when we do, it should be for a very good reason.

Lead, Don’t Follow.

It’s easy to imagine a young Olivia Pope with pigtails holding things down as the line leader in grade school. She radiates “born leader” in everything she does. We watch her week after week breeze into her office giving rapid-fire orders to her associates, setting the day’s agenda and squashing any opposition. Leaders blaze their own paths. Leaders communicate their vision with clarity. Leaders don’t allow anyone to take over and run things, as they always maintain control of a situation. Olivia Pope as a crisis manager cannot afford to follow the leader. If we channel our inner Olivia Popes, neither will we.

Look the Part.

From the flawless hair to the jewelry to the fabulous jackets, power suits and handbags, Olivia always looks like she means business. When Olivia Pope walks into a room, everyone takes her seriously. Sure we love her clothes and her hair, but for Olivia Pope it’s part of her brand. She can go from the office to the courtroom to the White House, turning heads along the way. If you want the people around you to take you more seriously, take a page from Olivia Pope’s style manual.

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