I’m not really a movie buff the way that most people are movie buffs – you won’t find me at the theater every weekend when new movies are released. To get me to the theater to watch a movie, those movie previews had better be awesome. And when I do find a movie I like, I tend to watch it over, and over, and over…. you get the point.
Latest movie obsession – John Wick. It came out in theaters October 2014 and kind of flew under the radar because it had very little promotion leading up to the release. Admittedly, I’m a Keanu Reeves fan, so any real promotion would’ve caught my eye, but I remember seeing like one commercial. In any event, when it hit HBO, I watched it and have been hooked ever since. Yes, part of the reason is because I think Reeves is hot and is aging like a fine wine, but that’s not it entirely — it’s just a really good movie – the acting, the story line, the action, the cinematography — it all comes together seamlessly in this movie. And interestingly enough, there are a number of takeaways from this movie that translate very well to business:
************Spoiler Alert: If You Haven’t Watched the Movie and Don’t Want the Ending Spoiled, Stop Reading*************
1. Be Mindful of How You Treat People:
In the movie, Reeve’s character, John Wick, is approached by a stranger, Iosef, at a gas station. Iosef offered to buy his beautiful 1969 Mustang. Wick politely refused and was looking to go on his way. Iosef made some not so nice comments, in Russian, thinking Wick wouldn’t understand, but he understood perfectly, returning his response in Russian. Iosef, apparently felt some sort of way about the whole exchange and he and his buddies stole Wick’s car and killed his dog, thinking no big deal. However, it was a big deal – turns out Wick was a retired hit man, and that’s where things get interesting.
In business, it’s important how you treat people. Treat everyone well because you never know with whom you’re dealing. One bad interaction with the wrong person could seriously hurt your business.
2. Pursue Your Goals Relentlessly:
Well, after Iosef and his crew killed Wick’s dog, let’s just say it was on. Wick went back to his old hit man ways and went after Iosef. Like, he really went after him. And anyone who got in his way, well…. And there were a lot of obstacles placed in his way, including a $2 million dollar contract placed on his head by Iosef’s father Viggo, a Russian crime boss. But that didn’t stop Wick from pursuing his goal.
If you really want something, you go after it, regardless of the obstacles placed in your way. There will be many, to be sure, but if you keep going, your persistence will likely pay off.
3. Keep Company With People Who Have Your Back:
As bad (or good) as Wick was, he couldn’t have accomplished his goals without a little help from his friends. Marcus, a fellow hit man, Winston, a hotelier, and Aurelio, a chop shop owner – they were all instrumental in watching Wick’s back and helping him accomplish his goals.
You can’t do everything alone, no matter how good you are. You need team work to make the dream work so build relationships with the right team of people who have your back when you need them.
4. Hone Your Craft:
Wick wasn’t just your regular, garden variety assassin. No – he was good. Really, really good. They even had a nickname for him – The Boogeyman. As Viggo explained, “He wasn’t exactly the Boogeyman, he was the one you sent to kill the f#$%ing Boogeyman.” And as you watched the movie, you began to see that his reputation was well earned; an encounter with Wick was sure to end badly (and deadly) for you. And you don’t get that good overnight – it takes a lot of hard work, effort and determination to develop that kind of skill. I’m sure Wick put in his 10,000 hours.
Whatever your business is, be good at it. Very, very good at it. Practice, learn, hone your craft. It’s that mastery that will take you to the next level and have you standing head and shoulders above the rest.
5. Always Be Prepared:
From the minute things jumped off, Wick was prepared – at his home when a crew of hit men were sent to put him down, at the club when he went after Iosef, at the church when he went after Viggo’s stash – he was always prepared. And his preparation, in large part, is what helped him become so successful. Being ill prepared in his line of work could’ve been very deadly.
Always be prepared. Whatever you’re going after in business, do you homework and be ready. You may only have one shot to get things right, so make it count.
6. Your Reputation Proceeds You, So Be Excellent:
Throughout the movie, every time Wick’s name was brought up, people immediately knew who he was. He didn’t get the nickname “The Boogeyman” for nothing. His reputation proceeded him because of his past deeds. Everyone knew, including Viggo, he wasn’t one to trifle with.
In business, your reputation is everything. People are having conversations about it that you’re probably not even aware of. If you’ve done excellent work and laid the proper foundation, those conversations should be all good, establishing a solid and favorable reputation.