Lessons we learn from JR Ewing

Sunday, December 02, 2012

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The Loveable and adorable Larry Hagman played the role of the iconic JR Ewing for almost two decades died at the age of 81, Saturday November 24, 2012. The Abominable JR Ewing was the man everyone loved to hate, but one's eyes were glued to him because he was always the Master of the Game at all costs.

The JR Ewing character was so flawed by his Machiavellian moves and scheming, and at times downright skullduggery.

JR in the remake of Dallas said to his son John Ross: "Son, never pass up a good chance to shut up. Watch and learn".

In his crude way he was teaching his son that his birthright was something that did not happen overnight and it took over a hundred years to be nurtured and protected and he wanted to pass on the torch.

LESSON: We have to know the landscape we operate in, in order to survive in business and stay ahead of the game.

JR:"Contracts were made to be broken, honey, but a handshake is the law of God".

He was referring to the "gentleman's agreement" where a handshake was a binding contract and to violate it would be dishonourable. In those days to violate the gentleman's agreement would be unheard of, but in today's business environment we have legalese coupled with the expensive lawyers to hammer away at the loop holes.

LESSON: The important lesson we miss here is the lack of trust and this is why most businesses never fully self actualize. You can be fierce competitors or business allies but there should always be a healthy dose of trust and honor in the way we do business. This way you will go the distance!

JR: "I have meetings all day with people who don't know what a shark I am".

LESSON: Know who your business opponent or ally is. Do your background check. This eliminates any potential heart break or disaster which could be time consuming not to mention costly at the end of the day

JR: "If you're going to climb into bed with JR Ewing, you'd better not get cold feet".

Again JR is very frank and direct about who and what he is.

LESSON: Be open and frank! As Jack Welch succinctly put it in his book WINNING, "Lack of Candour basically blocks smart ideas, fast action, and good people contributing to all the stuff they've got. It's a killer. JR Ewing epitomises Jack Welch's definition of Candour. No one could every accuse that in the character of JR Ewing you always knew where you stood. He was always focused with his eye on the prize and everyone knew where they stood with him.

JR:"Don't forgive and never forget; Do unto others before they do unto you; and third and most importantly, keep your eye on your friends, because your enemies will take care of themselves".

LESSON: Your "friends" especially those which whom you have met through your business liaisons and cultured a healthy and amicable relationship are usually those in the name of opportunity and greed will be the first to bring you down.

JR Ewing, we salute you and your astute business sense that we can reflect upon even through your role as an actor - the lessons we can learn in business survival today. Larry Hagman we will always be grateful to you for your role in bringing this iconic giant JR Ewing to life.

Karen M Fitz Ritson, who is director and CEO of Fitz Ritson and Associates, is an award winning financial analyst and business strategist. Recognised by several noted publications for her contribution to the business landscape, Fitz Ritson & Associates roster of courses is one of a select few of programmes approved by the Financial Services Commission and is the only programme of its kind accredited by the University Council of Jamaica. Across the Caribbean, Fitz Ritson & Associates is the most recognized certificate granting institution of its kind having trained in excess of 1000 students in portfolio management, pensions and financial analysis.

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