Lessons from Broadway on how to succeed in business.

By Amber Hudson and Luke Sklar

We toyed with the idea of tackling Harry Potter; there’s a decade-worth of fodder after all.   But Luke and I shrugged our shoulders and were all meh, boring.  Then we thought about [assume firm stance centre stage, throw arms up in the air, shimmy the shoulders and belt out in a Judy Garland-like voice]: Broooooaaaaaddddwaaaaayyyyy!

Daniel Radcliffe, he of HP fame, is currently in a revival of the hit 1960’s Broadway musical “How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying.”  He plays Finch, a kid who starts in the mailroom and works his way to the top…well…without really trying.

Here is a cut-down version of the lyrics from the song “The Company Way.” In this number Finch is talking to Mr. Twimble, a schlub who too started in the mailroom but has never left thanks to a complete inability to think for himself. Hilarious because nothing has changed in the past +50 years.  I’m sure you’ve got a couple of these fellas (or ladies, sucking up doesn’t discriminate in the new millennium) sprinkled throughout your company…

MR. TWIMBLE:
When I joined this firm
As a brash young man.
Well I said to myself not brash young man.
Don’t get any ideas.
Well, I stuck to that
And haven’t had one in years.

FINCH:
You play it safe!

MR. TWIMBLE:
I play it the company way.
Wherever the company puts me
There I stay.

FINCH:
But what’s your point of view?

MR. TWIMBLE:
I have no point of view!

FINCH:
Supposing the company thinks that…

MR. TWIMBLE:
I think so too!

FINCH:
Now, what would you say…

MR. TWIMBLE:
I wouldn’t say!

FINCH:
Your face is a company face…

MR. TWIMBLE:
It smiles at executives
then goes back in place!

FINCH:
Anything you’re against?

MR. TWIMBLE:
Unemployment!

FINCH:
So, You play it the company way.

MR. TWIMBLE:
Oh, company policy is by me ok.

FINCH:
You’ll never rise up to the top…

MR. TWIMBLE:
But there’s one thing clear,
Whoever the company fires
I will still be here!

FINCH:
Your brain is a company brain.

MR. TWIMBLE:
The company washed it,
Now I can’t complain.

FINCH:
Oh, how can you get anywhere?

MR. TWIMBLE:
Junior have no fear.
Whoever the company fires
I will still be here.

The Kiss Asses may not inherit the earth, but they will never face extinction.  There will always be a boss who basks in the shiny puckered up faces of his own Mr. Twimbles.  It’s a rare breed that wants to be told the cold hard truth.  It’s more work to be confronted.  It’s more frustrating.  It’s uncomfortably humbling.  But we high five the bosses who hold the mirror up and fist-bump those that dare to think differently.  Folks, let’s take a moment to watch one of the Greatest Ads of All Time.

*Sigh*

Awesome