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Leave The Gun, Take The… | By All Writes LLC
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Leave The Gun, Take The…

This dictionary should include a photo of Tess McGill next to the entry for 'chutzpah' (Page 205)!

Go ahead and accuse me of a “bait and switch” regarding this blog post’s headline – guilty as written. It would be tres facile pour moi to interpret select quotes from the beloved Godfather I and Godfather II movies and impart essential tidbits of Sicilian shrewdness to you. In fact, it would be too easy, since I’ve had no choice but to watch these paragons of mobster mystique many times. After all, I am married to a man who likes to work Godfather I and II quotes into our everyday life (enough said)…

But instead of “going to the mattresses,” I have another not-so-exalted movie in mind for imparting business lessons. This movie happens to be one of my guilty pleasures, and I know I’m not alone in the pleasuring. Rather than keeping your family close (but your enemies closer), consider the great bunny, Valium (in the convenient economy size), and dim sum of…Working Girl. Here is some sage advice from Tess McGill and her boney-ass boss, Katherine Parker:

  1. “I consider us a team, Tess, and as such we have a uniform: simple, elegant, impeccable. ‘Dress shabbily, they notice the dress. Dress impeccably, they notice the woman – Coco Chanel.'” This movie may be from 1988, but dressing well for business is something that never goes out of style. Whether you’re male or female, C-level executive or entry-level newbie, small business owner or solopreneur, looking sharp is an important aspect of selling your company’s products or services to prospective customers/clients. This doesn’t mean you have to spend beaucoup dollars at high-end stores. It’s just as easy to say Tar-zhay as it is to say Target!
  2. “You read W?” “I read a lot of things. I mean, you never know where the big ideas come from. You know?” Even though the dialogue from this scene questions the likelihood of dim sum as a “big idea,” the key take-home is that Tess reads many different publications. Whether you want to be a subject matter expert in your field or you’re looking for creative inspiration, reading IS fundamental. I don’t care if you read by candlelight or Kindle/Nook/iPad back-lit light – reading stimulates your brain and your business.
  3. “I’d love to help you, but…we can’t busy the quarterback with passing out the Gatorade.” Wow. That Katherine Parker is so smooth when throwing this line to Tess, who is drenched in sweat while rolling the (steaming!) dim sum food cart at Katherine’s “Here I am, New York!” cocktail party. If you’re the quarterback in your department or at your company, letting others handle the small but critical details so you can focus on the bigger picture is good advice. Even though Katherine’s non-offer of help is passive and sly, she’s delegating, and she does it well.
  4. “Well, it’s not exactly lunch, but there will be food there, though.” “What’s the story, Tess?” “It’s his daughter’s wedding.” “That’s the meeting?” “Well, it’s the perfect opportunity. He’s happy, he’s had a little champagne, we look for an opening. Trust me.” If you attend networking and other related events to find opportunities for soft-selling your business, you know that Tess’s strategy makes a lot of sense. Putting yourself in the right venue with the right players is the easy part; jumping in when the opening does occur requires confidence and verve. If you’ve been trying to cold call someone with little success, starting a conversation with that person at a business event or charitable fundraiser removes some of the barriers surrounding the contact fortress. The rest is up to you…

Perhaps there’s another famous Working Girl quote you were expecting – possibly something about having a head for business and a bod for sin? Too obvious, I thought. What do you think? Are there any other movies you feel deserve a deeper dive for pearls of business wisdom? Please share your movie shout out; I’ll consider it for a future post…


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2 Responses to Leave The Gun, Take The…

  1. I attended a talk a few weeks ago called, “My Name is Inigo Montoya.” It was about the business lessons that can be found in “The Princess Bride.” Quite amusing.

  2. Hi Deborah: So very nice to hear from you. I would imagine not getting involved in a land war in Asia came up during the “My Name is Inigo Montoya” session? I like ‘The Princess Bride’ so much that I included some quotes from the movie on several of my website’s pages. Hmm, I think PB would make for another good “bait and switch” blog post entry – thanks for your comment!