Brian Koppelman’s Three C’s to Relax Around Important People at Work

How should we talk to people with power? People with authority? Those above us in the org chart? The smartest, hardest, most accomplished clients we serve? Brian Koppelman (writer/creator of Billions, Rounders, Ocean’s Thirteen) has a few tips we can all borrow from, no matter what our profession is. Consider these Koppelman’s three C’s: comfort, caring, and collaboration.


Koppelman says we need to have an ingrained sense of comfort in our own skin. Sometimes that requires a reminder that we’re not in front of some great and all-seeing oracle or the Wizard of Oz. We’ve both done work in advance, with or without any fancy credentials, we are bringing some skill to the table.   


Koppelman’s also learned how making a great show is more than making great art. He may be obsessed with dialogue, but the studio executive is obsessed with things like the budget. He wants to always make sure these people feel heard and feel good about the overall process. If he wants them to care about him, he needs to care about them. 


The mix of taking comfort in what we’re good at, combined with always having an understanding of what the other person needs, will keep us in collaboration mode. Competition is stressful, collaboration is exciting. We don’t want to compete with people with more power, authority and rank than us, but we do want to collaborate with them.


If we harness Koppelman’s mindset and drive everything down to the level of comfort, caring, and collaboration – we can get a lot of good work done. From clients to corporate board rooms to around the house, these three C’s can help us all relax and stay focused.

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