The 90’s were a great time for television. I particularly enjoyed watching the TV series Seinfeld, the show about nothing. IMDB describes it as “the continuing misadventures of neurotic New York stand-up comedian Jerry Seinfeld and his equally neurotic New York friends.” Many of the show’s timeless quotes and sayings are very memorable and quite relatable when it comes to business.
- “I know why we have reservations” “I don’t think you do!” – Car rental clerk and Jerry Seinfeld
Delivering what you promise on time and in full are expectations that our customers demand. Generally, people do not act like Jerry in this clip but it doesn’t mean they aren’t thinking it. In the show, Jerry intends to “pay back” the rental car company’s poor service by damaging the rental car. “Pay back” comes in many forms including damaging your reputation in social media, initiating legal action or simply taking their business elsewhere to name a few. No one wants to be called “a very very bad man” for example.
- “Imagine, her taking credit for your big salad” – Jerry Seinfeld
In this clip, Julie takes credit for buying the “big salad” when George actually paid for it. This didn’t sit right with the characters. This happens in real life all too often. Substitute the “big salad” and replace it with taking credit for the “idea,” “presentation,” “results,” etc. and it will not sit well with your team either. Giving credit where credit is due is far better than taking credit that is not yours.
- “Yada yada yada” – Elaine Benes
Glossing over details leads your stakeholders to speculating on your true intention or drawing the wrong conclusions. If you are the Project Manager it’s ok not to know all the nitty gritty details, but make sure they are identified and acted upon by a team member(s). The importance of clear communication is one of the keys to successful interactions or projects.
- “Not that there’s anything wrong with that” – Jerry Seinfeld
While the quote had a different meaning in the TV show; it can be applied in many different ways including brainstorming and the creative process. Being open to new ideas and others opinions are critical to keeping ideas fresh and engaging. Kramer’s “Coffee Table Book About Coffee Tables” is a great example of out of the box thinking that could turn into a great success.
- “I’ll ask the questions” – Kramer
Kramer provides a humorous take on meeting management in this clip. Sticking to your agenda and utilizing time management techniques help to control your meeting and reach your desired meeting goals. The Harvard Business Review recommends making sure that the meeting is necessary, being clear about the meetings objective and to focus keeping the discussion centered avoiding unnecessary side conversations. Perhaps Kramer attended Harvard?
- “You have to motivate yourself with challenges. That’s how you know you’re still alive.” – Jerry Seinfeld
Being finished should seldom be accepted. Continuous product development and professional development are just two strategies to assist in staying relevant and keeping what you do or sell enticing. How can we do this better, more efficient, take out the choke points?
- “You’re an Anti-Dentite!” – Kramer
Don’t generalize your audience, your customers, or your stakeholders. Knowing who your target audience is an essential part of communication. Speaking their language, using terms and acronyms commonly used in their environment, putting yourself in their shoes, answering their “how does this relate to me” question, and providing actionable information are examples that hopefully will not leave your audience laughing.
Here’s to all of you who, as Kramer says, are “TCB, taking care of business”!
Article contributed by James Fox with Merck & Co. and CMMA Board Member