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:

THE GOOD

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!

[More on Management jobs.]

THE BAD – WHAT NOT TO DO

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 cabletv.com.  He welcomes your feedback on Twitter @DwayneThomas15.

Management Lessons They Don’t Teach You in School

There you are with your online Business Management degree or MBA, calm and assured in the knowledge that your school has given you all the skills necessary to survive in the business world. You accept your first job as a manager and stride into your new work environment bursting with confidence. As time goes on, you may notice some things in the workplace that are not in your lecture notes. Here are some tips that will help you survive and flourish in your first years as a business school graduate:

  • Include the People at the Point of Delivery: Most business degrees focus on the theoretical aspects of management, but what they often leave out in these grand plans is that some person needs to get other people to actually execute these strategies. A marketing plan that is based on customer service or friendly attitudes falls flat on its face when customers encounter negative employees at the point of delivery. With today’s social media outlets, negative experiences spread like wildfire and corporations end up performing damage control. JetBlue prides itself on its supposedly award-winning service, but most people have heard more negative JetBlue stories than positive ones. If they included better policies and more training for flight personnel and gate attendants on what to do in certain situations, perhaps the late night comedians wouldn’t have so much fun at their expense.
  • People Skills Matter: You’ll be working with and for many different types of people and will need to know how to deal effectively with each. There will be differences in age groups, ethnic backgrounds, value systems and personality types, yet you have probably received very little training in managing or working with people. Your department could succeed or fail based on your ability to motivate your staff. Build your skills at giving clear directions, accepting input, delegating, setting expectations and communicating. Your job is not to do the work yourself, but to motivate others to do it effectively.
  • You Might Need to Teach Others: You’ve just spent a great deal of time and money earning your degree, but your supervisors or those working for you may not have the same educational background. Assess the level of understanding of those around you and talk in terms they will understand. Just because everyone at school knew what a certain theory involved, don’t assume those in your office do. You may need to do some teaching to get everyone on the same page.
  • Be Prepared to Speak in Public: Most people are terrified of speaking in public, but business men and women need this skill. You’ll speak at meetings, training sessions, sales presentations, and social gatherings. You might be asked to present your department’s budget needs in front of the board of directors, or selected to make a presentation to shareholders. If you’re uncomfortable in public, you appear to be lacking confidence and knowledge, even though you might have solid facts and a persuasive argument. Take every opportunity you can get to practice your speaking skills and build your self-confidence before you join the business world.

Your business school has given you a solid foundation, but for true success you’ll need to accept that you may not know everything and be open to continued learning experiences.

Worst Managers of All Time

Impatience, credit-taker, narcissistic, nit-picky, belittling, and visionless… These are all qualities that make a bad boss. From silver screen to the real world, here is a list of the worst managers of all time.

Frederick Winslow Taylor – Father of Scientific Management
Regarded as the father of scientific management, a form of management that analyzed workflows, Frederick Winslow Taylor was an American mechanical engineer who sought to improve industrial efficiency. Though he was an intellectual leader of the Progressive Era and his ideas were highly influential and adopted, he took mirco-management and stringent leadership to the extreme. He stood over his workers with a stopwatch and a clipboard, timing their every movement and shouting, “work faster or be fired.”

Henry Frick – Carnegie Steel
A pioneer to the steel industry and CEO of Carnegie Steel, which was valued at $25 million in the late 1800s, Frick was a cutthroat anti-unionist who was once voted the most hated man in America. CNBC cited, “His response to a strike at one of his steel mills—which began after he attempted to lower wages—resulted in 16 deaths and is regarded as one of the most notorious incidents in U.S. labor history.” After the fact, Frick was shot three times and stabbed twice by an irate activist. Though he survived the stabbing, he will forever go down in history as a horrible boss.

Ken Lay – Enron
When it comes to bad CEOs, Lay was the complete package: dishonest, morally repugnant, and inept. Lay founded the multi-billion dollar energy company, Enron, which is now laid to rest as one of the worst PR crises of all time. Not only was Lay uninterested in the day-to-day tasks of running the business, but CNBC reported that Lay gave free rein to untrustworthy subordinates and signed off on transactions that were later uncovered to be a massive accounting fraud that would later bring down the corporation. Lay was convicted of fraud by the the Federal Court of Securities in 2006, and had he not died shortly thereafter would have served the rest of his life in prison.

Bill Lumberg – Office Space
William “Bill” Lumbergh is a fictional character from the late-90s film Office Space. Lumbergh is the division Vice President of a software company, Initech, and is hated by his employees for his mismatched priorities, micromanagement, and wrong priorities (pointless paperwork, moving desk spaces). Wikipedia he has been described as “the antithesis of the motivational management leadership ideal”

Dr. Julia Harris, D.D.S. – Horrible Bosses
Sex-crazed Dr. Julia Harris is a dentist, and the boss of Dale in the Hollywood hit “Horrible Bosses.” She takes workplace sexual harassment to the extreme she harrasesses her subordinate, Dale, while patients are in the chair, and even goes as far to sabotage his relationship with by drugging him.

Michael Scott – The Office
Where do you start with the epically worst manager of all time, the Office’s Michael Scott. Michel vies for his employee’s friendship and time-after-time his managerial tasks fall by the wayside. Moreover, he is an HR nightmare. He habitually makes cringe-worthy sexual and racist comments.

This quote pretty much wraps up Michael Scott’s management style: “ Would I rather be feared or loved? Um, easy…both. I want people to be afraid of how much they love me.”

Gordon Gekko – Wall Street
Wall Street, a 1990s classic film, shares the story of Bud Fox, a young and impressionable New York stockbroker desperate for success. As the story progresses, he is taken under the wing of his professional hero, Gordon Gekko, played by Michael Douglas, who is a rich and unscrupulous corporate raider who would do anything to get to the top. Ethics are not a priority for him as he lies, cheats, and steals all for the “bottom line” and tries to take down everyone in the process.

 

So now that you’ve been enlightened with our pick of the worst managers of all time, it’s time to learn about what makes a good manager. A Management degree will explore these management principle:

  • Vision
  • Leadership vs. Management
  • Macromanages
  • Cooperative
  • Delegates work

More Resources:
MSNBC, “No Good Very Bad Bosses”