Thursday, 20 August 2015

Box Office Manager - The Pursuit of Happyness

Movies have always interested me even as a little kid.  Even the worst movie has, maybe a message, a lesson or a moral which can be gainfully put to use in life. I must admit that, as a fact, they have taught me many things and this heated up my passion in movies as I grew up.

Life, as I see it, is nothing but management - be it situations, circumstances or events.  You are thrown into situations that may not necessarily be in your favor. How you handle the situation distinguishes you. In fact, what we unconsciously do is we “manage” the situation. So in a way, every person is a manager.

The characters in any story, carry the plot forward only through management. So every story indirectly teaches us how to manage a situation without us being aware of it. This ignited in me the idea of regularly analyzing movies from the viewpoint of management. I would prefer to call this segment of the blog “Box-Office Manager”. 

For our first movie, we have ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’, starring Will Smith and his son, Jaden Smith. The movie is a true story based on Chris Gardener’s life, who once made a wrong decision by investing a large sum of his money on ‘Bone-density scanners’ which shortly became outdated. This led to many disappointments in his life and ultimately his homelessness. How he overcame these difficulties to become the owner of a multi-million dollar brokerage firm is the crux of the story. There are many management lessons that I learned through this wonderful film.
In this “cold-calling” scene, Chris Gardener is trying to get his hold on the maximum number of clients which would possibly secure his position at Dean-Witter’s. He only has 6 hours to complete the job when others have 9.  So how does he do it? 

Time management, of course! 

As you can see from the clip, he does not hang up the phone which reduces the time taken for each call. This adds up 8 minutes in a day. He also mentions that he is trying to avoid drinking water as that would reduce the unnecessary time taken to visit the restroom often. Hence, Chris tries to efficiently manage the quantum of time available with him.

This is one of my favorite scenes in the movie. Chris is arrested for not paying his parking tickets and unfortunately, he has an interview in the morning. He is forced to attend the interview in his regular clothes, not-to-mention, paint-stained. He is clearly reluctant to attend the interview when he is called at first but then, he decides to face it come what may. Chris could have made umpteen numbers of excuses. But he does not. Chris doesn’t give up in spite of all things that are going against him. Management lesson learnt – integrity. 

You may ask me how integrity could be linked to management. Here’s my answer – 

As a manager, being the leader of the team, you are expected to maintain absolute integrity for two reasons:
•    Team-members look up to you as a role model. Therefore, any flaws in your persona, will distort their perspective.
•    Any human being should be honest in respect of any transactions.

Going back to the scene, the protagonist was aware that he was improperly dressed, or rather, shabbily dressed for the occasion, but that did not dilute or in any way affect his integrity. The following lines sum up his character -
 “I'm the type of person that if you ask me a question and I don't know the answer, I'm gonna tell you that I don't know. But I bet you what, I know how to find the answer and I will find the answer!”

                                             THAT is what integrity is all about!

This is by far the best scene in the entire movie which actually made me love the film even more. This one is about motivation which would be useful to drive the team towards its goal. 


                                                           Truly inspirational.

I can go on endlessly like this. However, as they say, all good things must come to an end. And keeping in mind a self-imposed target of 200 words per article, with great reluctance, I am concluding. I wholeheartedly recommend this movie to everyone, irrespective of age. See you with more such nice movies.
                                                            Happy management!

- Sreekiran


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