Perhaps Darth Vader isn’t the first person you’d think to call when you’re looking for business advice. The man has some clear management deficiencies. His anger problems are well documented, and his habit of murdering subordinates with space magic is an OSHA nightmare and an example of rash decision-making that can ruin an effective workforce. But that doesn’t mean that he can’t teach us something about running a business.
Great movie characters have a point of view that, even if we don’t agree with it, is compelling and interesting. Sure, Vader is a war criminal and a psychopath, but in his mind, all he really wanted was the power to make the universe safe and orderly by ridding it of rebels.
And Jedi. And Tuscans. And underperforming employees. And younglings. And sand. The point is, he’s a man with a plan and a perspective. Even if you don’t want to emulate his management style, you can still use him as an example of what not to do.
Maybe 2019 is the year to improve employee morale with your inspiring leadership instead of dreading the endless demands of your business. Use this New Year to delegate instead of doing everything yourself. Maybe it’s the year to cover that exposed plasma port that leads to your main reactor.
You know, best practices.
You can also look to Vader’s counterpart, the diminutive, grammar-challenged Jedi Master Yoda, who doesn’t have time for your excuses.
But you don’t have to look to a galaxy far, far away for inspiration.
We asked those from across the tire universe to contribute their favorite inspirational movie lines. Here is what they had to say.
“I have altered the deal. Pray I do not alter it further.”
Darth Vader, “Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back”
Sometimes playing nice is the right way to be, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t times where it makes sense to feel your inner Dark Side and negotiate like a Sith Lord. If you’re getting the short end of the deal from a provider or partner, negotiating better terms can have a positive impact on your bottom line. Just remember, even Lord Vader has limits. No disintegrations!
“Do or do not do. There is no try.”
Yoda, “Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back”
It’s a sink or swim world. If your metaphorical X-Wing fighter is stuck at the bottom of a swamp, a little bit of effort might not be enough to get it out. Jedi (and Olympic athletes) use visualization techniques to create a sense of inevitability of success. Set goals and see them through . Accept nothing less than success and remember, the Force is with you.
“Show me the money!”
Jerry Maguire, “Jerry Maguire”
“There’s no particular reason that I resonate with the quote. I just think it’s funny, as eventually business is about making money, and sales are [only] completed when the money comes in.”
Rajiv Poddar, joint managing director, BKT Tires
“Son, we live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who’s gonna do it? You? You, Lt. Weinberg? I have a greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom…. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said ‘thank you’ and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon and stand a post.”
Colonel Nathan Jessup, “A Few Good Men”
“One of my favorite movie lines was in “A Few Good Men” when Jack Nicholson is talking about those at the wall who defend our country. That’s a major thing for me, that people in the military put their life on the line on our behalf, on behalf of the freedoms we sometimes hardly think about. Of course, what we do as tire dealers doesn’t compare. It doesn’t even come close to what military people do for our country. But we do have to lay it on the line for our customers, often 24/7, and sometimes our customers don’t value the time and effort it takes, but we do it anyway.”
Dan Nothdurft, president, Tires Tires Tires, Sioux Falls, South Dakota and Sioux City, Iowa
“Life moves pretty fast, If you don’t stop and
look around once in awhile, you could miss it.”
Ferris Bueller, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”
“This quote is all about work-life balance, which is so important to me. The focus that I have is because I grew up in this business watching customers come in and talking about retirement – they’re going to retire in five years, then retire in two years. They kept saying that, so when you ask ‘How are you going to spend your retirement?’ They’d say they’re going to see the country and to RV. Well, six months later, a spouse dies and they’ve worked, worked, worked and not done anything. Seeing that from a young age, I’ve decided that I don’t want to live my life that way. But to do that, you have to take time off. It was a struggle with my dad. He thought that if you took two or three days off a year, you had horns, like you were the devil. I bucked him on that. Today everyone in our shop has three paid weeks off. We’re closed on the weekends, both Saturday and Sunday. We have a 43-and-a-half hour work week, and family comes first. It’s part of our culture. It’s proven to work for us.”
Chris Monroe, owner, Monroe Tire & Service, Shelby, North Carolina
“Help me help you. Help me help you.”
Jerry Maguire, “Jerry Maguire”
“For movie quotes, ‘Help me help you’ from Jerry Maguire is one that I use quite a bit. But I use a lot of quotes from politics.…. The one I use all the time around the company is by William Jennings Bryan and that’s “Destiny is not a matter of chance; it is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.” He was a progressive politician back in the day and I think he had just a tremendous amount of (foresight). I think that there’s a lot of things that he said – and really, it’s almost 100 years later, and it still applies. In other words, everything that you set out to do in your own destiny and your personal life or your business career, whatever happens to the company, whatever the outcomes of those, you just boil it down. It really does come down to choices, and if you’re deliberate and driven against those choices, you can achieve it. It just doesn’t happen – you got to go do something, not just get lucky. Go and take action. I use that a lot with our teams relative to transformation and so forth because if we’re going to do this, that destiny is ours to achieve, but you just can’t leave anything to chance. We have to own it and drive it.”
Stuart Schuette, president and CEO, American Tire Distributors
“Just keep swimming…”
Dori, “Finding Nemo”
“Sometimes you have no choice but to keep going no matter what challenges you are facing in business. Sometimes it is getting through a hectic day, and others it is powering through tedious tasks.”
Jenna and Kyle Cox, owners, Cox Tire & Auto Service
“A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow.”
General George S. Patton, Jr., “Patton”
“The ‘pursuit of perfection’ is a great deterrent to progress. It’s also a convenient excuse for not taking action. Many times, businesses have “lost” trying to figure something out, while their competitors are already doing it. Make the decision and move ahead, you can always adjust along the way. The most important step is the first one.”
Rick Phillips, vice president of sales, Triangle Tire USA
“You’ve got to ask yourself a question: ‘do I feel lucky?’
Well, do ya, punk?”
Harry Callahan, “Dirty Harry”
“In our own life and in business, it’s all about luck. We work hard and we create our own luck, so we have to take advantage of it when it comes our way. I try to take advantage of it every day. We’re only as smart as we can be, and we do our best, but luck has a lot to do with it. Me? I’m lucky in business, very fortunate. When a customer comes to you, they could go anywhere. Instead of going to another guy, sometimes that’s luck that they’re coming to you, so you have to take advantage of it. The fact that I’m here, that I’m alive, I’m lucky in that way, too. Luck is everything.”
Alpio Barbara, owner, Redwood General Tire Pros, Redwood City, California
“It’s not who you are underneath, it’s what you do that defines you.”
Bruce Wayne, “Batman Begins”
“This quote is all about taking action and that’s a great lesson for anyone trying to succeed in business or otherwise. When we’re born, we’re all the same “underneath,” naked little humans. Nature and nurture play important roles in shaping who we become but, in my opinion, nothing defines us more than what we do, how we do it and who we do it for. or with.”
Steve Ferrante, trainer of champions, Pinnacle Performance
“It’s not about what you want, it’s the consumer.”
Joe Dirt, “Joe Dirt”
“Always remember, the customer is KING.”
Andrew Wilson, product manager, Cardone Industries
“No matter what anybody tells you,
words and ideas can change the world.”
John Keating, “Dead Poets Society”
“I first heard this was I was a young man in the late ‘80s, early ‘90s. I remember thinking that this makes sense…don’t be afraid to talk about new ideas even if they seem crazy at first. If you don’t, who will?”
John Evankovich, president, Tire Industry Association
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.”
Winston Churchill, “The Darkest Hour” (incorrectly attributed to Winston Churchill in the movie)
“Even if Mr. Churchill did not say this, it is a wonderful stream of thought. In life and in business, we have
successes and we have failures (hopefully more of the former than the latter). In spite of these failures and successes, we have to have the courage to pick ourselves up each day, learn from the past, continue to the future and do it for the good of the people we lead, for the customers we serve and for our families.”
Roy Bromfield, president/CEO, Toyo Tire U.S.A. Corp.
“You find out life’s this game of inches. It’s always football. Because at the end of the game – life or football – the margin of error is so small, I mean one half a step too late or too early, you don’t quite make it. One step too slow or too fast, you can’t quite catch it. The inches we need are everywhere around us. They’re in every break of the game, every minute and every second. On this team, we fight for that inch. On this team, we tell ourselves and everyone else around us to piece us for that in. Claw for that inch. Because we know when we add up all those inches, that’s going to make the difference between winning and losing. Between living and dying. In any fight, it’s the guy that’s willing to die for that inch.”
Tony D’Amato, “Any Given Sunday”
“Everything about this is how we run a business. We struggle everyday and often overlook the little things that make us successful…”the inches we need are everywhere” and “life is a game of inches.” It’s a back-to-basics approach to not lose sight of what has made us successful…take it a step or inch at a time…motivating those around us…and never stop fighting to win.”
Dave Crawford, president and COO, The Hybrid Shop