Management Tips from Simpson’s C. Montgomery Burns

Like most villains, C. Montgomery Burns from the Simpsons is known for being ruthless, creepy, and downright mean. He is unmarried, never sees his family, and appears to have less physical strength than little Maggie Simpson. Yet, at 104 years old, he is the oldest, wealthiest, and most powerful man in all of Springfield. While his management style may be unconventional, the man knows how to make money and, in this economy, it can’t hurt to investigate his methods.

Here are five management and life skills to take note of, courtesy of Mr. Burns:


Surround Yourself with “Yes” Men

The only companion, other than his beloved stuffed teddy bear, that Mr. Burns has around him constantly is his assistant and confidant Waylon Smithers. While Smithers may secretly pine for Monty’s affections, it is clear that he only keeps Smithers around for one reason—he tells him just what he wants to hear no matter what. From false success of his stocks to the morality of tormenting employees, Smithers only response to Burns is one of agreement.To even further ensure he’s surrounded with “yes” employees, Burns temporarily appointed a bird, Canary M. Burns, as President of his company to avoid backtalk, lawsuits, and federal jail time.

Coin a Catchphrase that Encourages Perfection

Fred Flintstone has “Yabba, Dabba, Do,” Quagmire says “GittyGitty,” Charlie Brown spouts “Good Grief” and Springfield Nuclear Power Plant employee Homer has the infamous “Doh!” While these catchphrases are amusing, they don’t exactly exude success.  However, Monty’s signature catchphrase of “Excellent” is the epitome of a perfectionist. He says this phrase with an evil, victorious look in his eyes and everyone around him knows he got his way, again. He puts excellence into the universe and gets it back in return. It is a small glimmer of contentment in his usual grim demeanor but it still evokes fear in those around him.  Most managers develop catchphrases like, “Good Job,” or “Way to Go,” with a pat on the back or an extra hour of lunch to motivate their employees.  Yet, Mr. Burns taps his bony fingers together and simply encourages his own excellence.

Be Smart with Your Money

Mr. Burns may be a billionaire, but one wouldn’t necessarily know it from looking at him. He dresses modestly, keeps his home pretty free of extravagant décor and watches out for “get rich quick” schemes. On more than one occasion, Homer tries to seduce Mr. Burns with a con to try and rip off his boss while simultaneously making himself rich. Burns always has the upper hand because he has a huge respect for his money; no matter what the amount. For example, Homer once approached Mr. Burns with the notion that he “could experience eternal happiness for just one dollar” to which Burns simply replied, “I’d be happier with the dollar.” Whether it’s in your personal life or professional, having a conservative approach to spending is always a good thing!

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Balance Between Work and Pleasure

The components of life that most people feel make them human—love, companionship, family, and faith—are, to Mr. Burns, nothing but distractions from achieving success. As Monty Burns himself once said “….Family. Religion. Friendship. These are the three demons you must slay if you wish to succeed in business. When opportunity knocks you don’t want to be driving to a maternity hospital or sitting in some phony-baloney church. Or Synagogue.” Clearly, this extremist viewpoint is not recommended for most managers, but he does bring up a good point about balancing business and pleasure. It’s easy to run off and blow a week’s pay on a big getaway with a sweetie or a fancy watch for a parent’s birthday. Take a note from Monty and ensure that these splurges and escapes from work are the exception and not the norm. On the contrary, family, friendship and faith are essential to the human spirit so be sure not to neglect those important people and traditions while climbing the corporate ladder. It’s all possible as long as the scales remain neutral.

Disregard Safety Regulations and Environmental Guidelines

While most companies taut “safety first,” Mr. Burns seems to adopt a “safety’s the worst” management style. Instead of spending money on real fire extinguishers, he simply paints them on the wall. He also installed trap doors and falling weights in his office to threaten and exterminate employees, or anyone else, who tries to meet with him. If these tactics don’t work, he instructs his trusty sidekick Smithers to “release the hounds” on them.

Mr. Burns also has no regard for the environment or LEED certification. He dumps nuclear waste from his plant into nearby parks and rivers to cut costs and often admires the mutant reptiles that his dumping creates. In another attempt to boost revenue by simultaneously harming the atmosphere, he blocked the sun so that the residents of Springfield were forced to increase the amount of electricity they used—electricity produced from his power plant, of course.

This particular business tactic resulted in an assassination attempt; so it’s safe to say that if one wants to succeed in business, he/she should do the exact opposite of Monty in this case. Look out for the safety of others and the environment at all times. Not only is it good business, but it’s even better karma. With the recent natural disasters directly caused by the weather, it’s
highly recommended to stay on Mother Nature’s good side these days. Not to mention, a LEED gold certification can add major credibility to your place of business—undoubtedly benefiting your bottom line.

Love him or hate him, Monty Burns knows how to make more money and live longer than most CEOs in America. Perhaps, “Management According to Monty” will be the new “Who Moved My Cheese.” Wouldn’t that just be an “excellent” way to motivate employees in the New Year?

Photo by Pop Culture Geek

Author Bio: This article was written by a guest author. Dwayne Thomas is a marketer and staff writer for  He welcomes your feedback on Twitter @DwayneThomas15.