Saturday, November 17, 2012

Sons of anarchy and what the Motorcycle club can teach you about business and loyalty

I have recently caught up on the entire series of Sons of anarchy. It is an excellently written and acted show. For those of you who haven't heard of or watched the series it is on FX on Tuesday nights. It has colorful language and less than politically correct stereotypes which Hollywood has accepted on television since the advent of shows like NYPD Blue and later on The Shield which also aired on FX.
Sons of anarchy is about a fictional Northern California Motor Cycle Club in a small Northern California fictional town called Charming. It is the story of a  young man in his 30's who's apparently the reluctant heir apparent to someday head the club. His late father was the head of the club until his best friend and his "Old Lady" apparently murder him or have him murdered so that they can be together.
It takes place years after those events in which have made the best friend Clay Morrow played brilliantly by Ron Perleman, the "President" of the club. or for the purpose of this blog, the CEO. His now "Old Lady" Gemma Teller / Morrow, the mother of the club. Which is played by Katey Sagal, yes Peg Bundy, whom by the way plays Gemma as if the role was written for her. It probably doesn't hurt that her real life husband Kurt Sutter created and writes the show as he has done for the FX series the Shield. Sutter also plays a Club member on the show however, he is in prison serving a life sentence for myriad murders and the like.
The show deals with motor cycle gang violence on many levels but, what the show deals with the most are the relationships of the club members. The President and his "board" members. In total there are 11 of them at the table for their quasi board meetings. They take votes on everything at the table from drug muling to gun running etc. What they deal with the most is club business.
The President will bring up issues and put said issues up for a vote. Even though their are 11 of them in the Board Room which they refer to as "Church" only 8 sit at the table even though all eleven vote.
Items brought up for a vote are only passed when there is a majority.
In any business there are always decision makers. When it is a big company there are many people making decisions. In major corporations there is usually a board which when there is a vote it has to be passed by a majority.
As far as loyalty goes in Sons of anarchy loyalty is rewarded with money and protection. If loyalty comes in question in the club it usually ends in death or some might say worse than that, when your tattoo affiliations are burned off and you are outcast by the club. I will spare you the gruesome details on how the tattoos are burned off but, suffice it to say, they don't get them removed by a doctor.

Now a business also rewards loyalty with a paycheck sometimes bonuses etc. They don't require body art and things of the motor cycle clubs' nature but, the club is no different than any other business in fact this particular club is set in the back of an auto / motorcycle repair shop. Which by all accounts is a real business run Clay & Gemma Morrow.
the club has many businesses not many of them are legal but, all make money. They have a part in porn movie business. They have the garage. There is the gun running and the drug muling and this season they are getting into a high end prostitution ring.  Some companies in the real world branch out into a variety of businesses. Usually though it is done by a huge conglomerate with experts throughout said company. It appears that the club is usually on overload with all they take on which usually ends in someone dying or someones. Real world, a small company may take on some different businesses but, none more than it thinks it can handle. If it does take on too much it will more than likely end in doom for those smaller departments maybe even the entire company.

Let me end by saying that I don't condone violence of any kind in business or real life at all but, If I were running a motor cycle club like the Sons it would be much more streamlined. Maybe the Porn could combine somehow with the prostitution ring just an example. The guns and drugs could and should be done as separate industries those two industries seem to go hand in hand in Hollywood but, in my opinion would be strange bedfellows in the real world. Just asking for trouble there.

In the end, The show is about family and the people in your life that you make your family. The common denominator this show is the love and brotherhood of this club. It is one thing to start a business with family and friends it is another to make it successful. It isn't rare by any stretch but not very common. These guys seem to make it work for 12 -15 episodes a season but, it always ends up bad for them or someone.
I am just glad it has been renewed for 2 more seasons because, I can't wait to see what happens!

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