The Performance Principle: do YOU have what it takes to be a great leader?

Posted on May 05, 2021 | By Ashley Fitzpatrick | 0 Comments

It’s cold, raining. A tired employee shuffles through the office door, peels off their coat and swings into a desk chair. There’s a quick check of the calendar, maybe they move a sticky note, then pop up with a stained mug and head for the brewer. They notice a new face at the front of the room. Curious; they don’t pay too much mind just yet, looking deep into their mug as they pour.

“Put that coffee down,” declares the new face from atop a crisp, blue suit with a white pocket square. “Coffee’s for closers only.”

Welcome to the office of Premiere Properties, where a weathered employee—and everyone else for that matter—must now listen to “Blake” highlight the monthly sales contest. First prize for the winning realtor is a Cadillac Eldorado, second prize is steak knives and third prize is you lose your job.

“Always. Be. Closing,” he booms.

“Only one thing counts in this life. Get them to sign on the line which is dotted.”

Ok, not a real-life case study. This is the opening of the film adaptation of David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross, where Alec Baldwin’s Blake is dispatched by ever-absent bosses Mitch and Murray to motivate Jack Lemmon’s worn Shelley Levene and other staff.

The infamous, satirical speech wasn’t part of the original stage play. Mamet added it for the film. And 20 years later, for a mounting of the play at Fairfield University in Connecticut (part of a fall tradition with faculty in the lead roles), they insisted on including it, asking business ethics professor David Schmidt to play Blake.

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