I can’t think of anyone who isn’t at least peripherally aware of Monty Python. From the sublime to the ridiculous, John Cleese, Michael Palin, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Graham Chapman and Terry Jones’ brilliant theatrics made them not only cultural icons of their generations, but for all generations; because among other things, they proved that a spark of humor can help put even the stickiest of situations back into perspective.
You can learn a lot about business too, by taking a look at the meaning behind some of their quotes. From leadership, management, sales, branding and customer service – it’s all there. Let’s see:
1. “Always look on the bright side of life.” Solutions are never found on the dark side. Problems are a given. An optimistic attitude opens your mind to possibilities.
2. “We are no longer the knights who say ni! We are now the knights who say ekki-ekki-ekki-pitang-zoom-boing!” What do you want to be known for? If something is not working try another approach and support it not only in words but in action.
3. “’Tis but a scratch’ ‘A scratch?! Your arm’s off!’ ‘No, it isn’t.’” If you have the motivation to succeed, you can surmount any problem.
4. “ NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition! Our chief weapon is surprise…surprise and fear…fear and surprise…. Our two weapons are fear and surprise…and ruthless efficiency…. Our *three* weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency…and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope…. Our *four*…no… *Amongst* our weapons…. Amongst our weaponry…are such elements as fear, surprise…. I’ll come in again.” Make up your mind. What does your brand say about you? If you don’t know what you stand for, how can you expect anyone else too, especially your customers and employees?
5. “I don’t think there’s a punch-line scheduled, is there?” Get to the point. Keep it simple and respond to the need. Don’t leave them hanging for a punchline.
6. “We apologize for the fault in the subtitles. Those responsible have been sacked.” Leaders don’t assign blame. They accept responsibility
7. “Listen, lad. I built this kingdom up from nothing. When I started here, all there was, was swamp. Other kings said I was daft to build a castle on a swamp, but I built it all the same, just to show ’em. It sank into the swamp. So, I built a second one. That sank into the swamp. So I built a third one. That burned down, fell over, then sank into the swamp. But the fourth one… stayed up! And that’s what you’re gonna get, lad: the strongest castle in these islands.” Castles can’t be build overnight and Rome wasn’t built in a day. Overnight success doesn’t exist. Put in the work. Persistence pays off.
8. He’s not pining, he’s passed on. This parrot is no more. He has ceased to be. He’s expired and gone to meet his maker. He’s a stiff, bereft of life, he rests in peace. If you hadn’t have nailed him to the perch he’d be pushing up the daisies. He’s rung down the curtain and joined the choir invisible. This is an ex-parrot!” There’s are times in every business when you simply have to give up the ghost. If you have an idea that isn’t working, a piece of equipment held together with chewing gum, an employee who’s underperforming or vendor who’s unresponsive to your needs, know when to cut your losses and move on. A dead duck is a dead duck, and a dead parrot is a dead parrot. What are you waiting for?
9. Customer: ‘Not much of a cheese shop really, is it?’
Shopkeeper: ‘Finest in the district, sir.’
Customer: ‘And what leads you to that conclusion?’
Shopkeeper: ‘Well, it’s so clean.’
Customer: ‘It’s certainly uncontaminated by cheese.’
What are you selling? Disney sells happiness. They also have the cleanest restrooms I’ve ever seen, but their known for making people happy. Being clean supports the image. It doesn’t comprise it.
10. “Well, before he went he left a note with the company, the effect of which was how disappointed he was with your work and, in particular, why you had changed the name from Conquistador Instant Coffee to Conquistador Instant Leprosy. Why, Frog?” This one’s easy: if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. If it works, don’t change it.
11. “If she weighs the same as a duck… she’s made of wood… (and therefore) a witch!” Collecting data is one thing and sound judgment is another. Emotional intelligence is key to making wise decisions.
12. “I’m sorry to have kept you waiting, but I’m afraid my walk has become rather sillier recently.” There are no lame excuses for conducting business. Professionalism always wins the day.
13. “It’s just a few friends call me Two Sheds and that’s all there is to it. I wish you’d ask me about my music. I’m a composer. People always ask me about the sheds, they’ve got it out of proportion. I’m fed up with the shed, I wish I’d never got it in the first place.” Have you heard the saying ‘Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not looking”? If you don’t create your own brand, people will create it for you, and in business that can be devastating. If you don’t know where to begin, I have a friend who can help.
14. “I’m afraid I’m not personally qualified to confuse cats, but I can recommend an extremely good service.” Giving referrals is good for your business. It adds to your credibility and increases trust.
15. “Oh, I see. I hadn’t correctly divined your attitude towards your tenants. You see I mainly design slaughter houses.” When you’re meeting with a new prospect, do your homework and be prepared.
16. “I feel the time has come to complain about people who make rash complaints without first making sure that those complaints are justified.” While there will always be people who love to complain and find fault where there is none, the key to good business is to keep your cool, and treat them seriously. It’s a waste of time and energy to do anything else, and trying to reason with them can only add fuel to the fire. It’s not worth the headache.
17. “I didn’t want to be a barber anyway. I wanted to be a lumberjack.” Do you have the right people in the right seats in the right bus?
18. “The only trouble is, you have given me the idea before I’d given you the pound. And that’s not good business. Isn’t it? No, I’m afraid it isn’t. So, um, off you go.” Always get it in writing. Don’t give away the store before the deal is carved in stone.
19. Father: One day, lad, all this will be yours.
His son: What, the curtains?
What kind of legacy will you leave?