Cinema Meets Business (Part 3)
Our waltz down movie lane continues with more great tips from some movies that we all know well (and maybe from some we don’t).
- Citizen Kane: “It’s no trick to make a lot of money, if what you want to do is make a lot of money.” — Berstein (Everett Sloane), Kane’s (Welles) business manager explains. This quote from Orson Welles’ masterpiece reminds me of another movie quote from Jenna Elfman’s character in the movie Keeping the Faith with Ben Stiller and Edward Norton. Her character, who is an accomplished businesswoman references how she spend all of her time and energy accomplishing what she thought she wanted only to find out that once she got it she still wasn’t happen. Translation- Money is fleeting. Don’t just focus on making money. I have found that when I focus on helping others then the accolades and money will follow (but it shouldn’t be a focal point for everything you do).
- Rudy: “No one, and I mean no one, comes into our house and pushes us around.” — Notre Dame coach Dan Devine (Chelcie Ross) says in a speech to the team before their final game of the season. Commitment and pride are important ingredients within the recipe for a successful organization. The key is to band together and not compete against each other. One of the key ways that Lou Gerstner led IBM from near bankruptcy to being the titan it is today was through eliminating competition among business units. Realize that the focus should be about the team and not about making yourself look better than others at work. Let them do that and when they fall on their faces you will come across as genuine and a team player.
- Trading Places: “You make no friends in the pits and you take no prisoners. One minute you’re up half a million in soybeans and the next, boom, your kids don’t go to college and they’ve repossessed your Bentley. Are you with me?” — Louis Winthorpe III (Dan Aykroyd) states to Billy Ray Valentine (Eddie Murphy) before the opening bell in New York. Your career will have ups and downs. The key is to find a way to ride the ups without arrogance and emerge from the downs with key lessons and a smarter mindset. In other words, build resiliency. Find the way to pick yourself up after a bad mistake and realize that you can comeback and succeed again.
- Glengarry Glen Ross: “Only one thing counts in this world: Get them to sign on the line which is dotted.” — Blake (Baldwin) commands in front of a group of downtrodden salesmen. This is quite an intense scene. For those who haven’t seen it, take a look.
Besides the classic lines: “ABC, always be closing” there is a good lesson in the quote above. In business, intentions are great, but you will be measured by your results. In a sales environment it is great to have a bunch of “leads” and a large funnel, but ultimately you will get paid and judged according to the sales you make, the times you get someone to sign on the “line that is dotted.” The same goes for almost any other functional role in a company. While intentions are good (and so is action) it is all about the impact you make. Ensure that you are maximizing your impact and focusing on the right things to drive results. This will translate to more attention from the higher-ups.
- Scarface: “Don’t underestimate the other guy’s greed.” — Frank Lopez (Tony’s Mentor) says to Tony (Al Pacino). Greed can be a strong driving force and can motivate someone to achieve great things; however; greed is not a lasting strategy. Greed fosters enemies and animosity. Being greedy means being alone. It is better instead to find another driving force that is more aligned with team goals instead of individual delusions of grandeur. Most people who are successful are so because of the help and support from other people. Foster support, not greed.
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