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Halloween Business Series: The Shining


“Here’s Johnny!”:  Don’t Open That Door!!


So #1 on your list of favorite horror movies is a classic. The Shining, Stanley Kubrick, Jack Nicholson, Stephen King, nothing could be more frightening!

So how does it relate to business?

In every horror movie the audience has an outsider’s view. As we watch, we know the next moves of the leading characters are going to lead to something bad. Sometimes we want to scream out at the characters, “don’t go in there!” or “don’t split up!” We have the higher lever view and the foresight to know that whatever happens, it’s not smart, and it ain’t gonna be good. And ultimately, we know we’re watching a horror movie, I mean, isn’t that the point?

Back to The Shining, our leading man, Jack, now the über obsessed and possessed bad guy, lies on the other side of the door, and we know that good things are not going to happen. Even with ghostly warnings to “stay out of room 237” Jack, Danny and Wendy at different times head there anyway.

Having an outsider’s perspective is important in business. I consider the outsider’s view, The Mirror Test, one you need to conduct in your business every day. Looking in “The Mirror” helps you see the big bad guy with the ax standing over your shoulder–the pitfall, bad employee or bad decision looming over your business. As business owners and leaders, we may not have all the clues—we may not know we are in the middle of that horror movie. We may become entranced and possessed with the mundane details or the toil and work that is our everyday existence. It’s important to stand back, ask the difficult questions, really see what’s going on, know it needs to change and then make those changes. If not, you may as well give the crazy maniac at your door the ax and let him chop away—you’re as good as dead.

Here are a few questions every business leader should look in the mirror and ask themselves regularly:

  • Why are you doing what you do?
  • What is the purpose of what you are doing? Do you want to please people? Build the best widget? Make the best horror flick?
  • What is it you want to do? Make money? Build huge profits? What then?
  • Do your customers know the answers? Do your employees? Do you?
  • Where are you going? What do you want to be when you grow up, or wake up?

So stare in “The Mirror” ask the questions then tell the dark one over your shoulder to pack up, saddle up and ride off into the night.

To reference my favorite line from The Shining, remember “All work and no play make Jack a dull boy”.  So get out and enjoy this Halloween! BOOOOOO-Yah!

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