There are more than a few people who think this classic 07:09
scene from Glengarry Glen Ross is the outline for achieving success. I should
know; I use to be one of those people. It is extremely well written by David
Mamet, and perfectly acted by Alan Arkin, Alec Baldwin, Ed Harris, Jack Lemmon,
and Kevin Spacey (Al Pacino is not in this scene.)

What follows is an analysis of this great work, written in
an attempt to separate fact from fiction. Each comment below is in reference to
the dialog at or near that particular time mark in the video. All quotes are
spoken the character (Moss) played by Alec Baldwin unless otherwise specified.
I suggest you watch the video first, and then return to the comments.



“I’m here on a mission
of mercy.”

He is. He volunteered his time as a favor to the company
owners to offer advice to other salespeople who have in fact already lost their
jobs, and just don’t know it. He is giving his time for free, and his objective
is a just cause. Do not confuse or conflate objective with method. Perhaps you
do not like his tone, his attitude, his language, or all of the above. Learn to
ignore the messenger and their delivery style. Learn to focus on the message.
Let the process of living life teach the messenger the seven virtues at a later
time and place. In such situations, recognize God wanted you to hear the
message being delivered, and He trusts you enough to find it in the worst of
circumstances. Did you notice how Ed Harris’ character so grew angry he got up
to leave . . . only to return to his seat? Do not make the mistake of quibbling
with God over His choice of messenger. Rejoice in the fact God sent you a


“Second prize is a set
of steak knives.”

What? You wanted 2nd prize to be more equitable
in relation to the Cadillac Eldorado 1st prize? Perhaps a Hawaiian
vacation? There are no moral or fairness issues at work here because you do not
understand the gap between 1st and 2nd place prizes. If
and when it is your company and your contest, you can set the contest rules and
the prizes as you wish, and you can make 2nd prize anything you
want. Until then, accept that the rules where you work are the rules where you
work. Do not waste your precious energy becoming upset over that which you have
zero control.


“You can’t close the
leads you’re given, you can’t close shit, you are shit, hit the bricks pal and
beat it because you are going out.”

There is no excuse for Baldwin to label those in his
audience in this manner. For those who emulate Baldwin let me sum up his
language this way for you: You will lose more employing this language than you
gain. Those in the habit of employing this language appreciate what I just said
because it engages them not by invoking principles of morality and immorality,
but instead simply points out the fact that in the long run it hurts their
bottom line more than it benefits. Further notice in this document, as in real
life, now is not the time or the place to segue into a discussion on the moral
treatment of employees. In other words, there is a time and a place for that
discussion, but it is not now and it is not here. My goal here is to influence
behavior by speaking to the person where they are and in a language they
currently understand, not speak to a person where I wish them to be using
principles I know at present they reject. You do likewise. Yes, be observant,
but know when to speak and when to remain silent. Know what to comment on, and
what to ignore until a later date. It is not your job to address, much less
fix, every broken person you meet in life. Say a silent prayer for them,
because sometimes that’s the best we can do at the moment.

02:28  04:30

“You drove a Hyundai
to get here tonight. I drove an $80,000 BMW. That’s my name.”

“That’s who I am, and
you’re nothing.”

Baldwin is what he owns, and what he owns, owns him. None of
his possessions themselves are at fault. The fault lies in how he uses his
possessions as verbal clubs to demean and insult others with less talent than
he possesses. But for all he knows the other people would make superior
accountants, lawyers, or anything else and they just don’t know it yet. They
have not yet figured out that a career in sales is not for them. So, does that
mean until they do figure out what their calling is in life they should be
insulted and treated like dirt? Clearly, not. And soon enough when such people
inevitably leave the company, they have absolutely nothing good to say about
the prior company they worked for. In the long run, more damage than good is
caused by the poor treatment of employees.


“Always be closing. A
– I – D – A.”

As mentioned above, Baldwin’s objective is to help. At this
point he is teaching some fundamental sales techniques. If you allow the fact
he is loud and arrogant to interfere with paying attention to his message, you
lose out. Again, ignore the messenger and their style of delivery. Do not make
the mistake of wishing, much less asking, others to embrace your more collegial
style of delivery or interpersonal relations. Delivery and relationship style
is a byproduct of temperament, and adult temperament is what it is. It is not
going to change, and if you get stuck on temperament you are going to miss out
on a lot of good information simply because you have labeled the messenger a
jerk, and then you shut down. Who cares if they really are a jerk? Focus on the
message. Always focus on the message in these situations.


“Good father? ____
you! Go home and play with your kids. You want to work here, close!”


“You don’t like it, leave.”

True. Self-explanatory. But they stay. Why? 1. Fear of risk.
Better to stay in a dead-end job than take the risk of leaving. 2. The
perception there are no other options. Maybe there are no other options, but
get a second opinion anyway from someone very bright, who does not have any
vested interest in the choice you make.


“These are the
Glengarry leads. And to you they’re gold. And you don’t get them. Why? Because
to give them to you is just throwing them away.”

Baldwin continues with his demeaning and sarcastic delivery,
but if you are a part of his audience that is not be your concern at the moment.
Your only focus should be whether or not he is speaking the truth. You may not
like the news a messenger delivers, but like or dislike has never made any
difference to the truth. Do you have the talent to do the job? Are you in the
right position where you are? Is your present career truly the right career for
you? Could you excel where you are, or elsewhere, if you gave more effort? Went
back to school? Gave more effort and went back to school? There are many
questions to be answered, but precisely not one will be answered correctly when
emotions are engaged and the truth spoken by the messenger is ignored because
the messenger was an egotistical jerk. Who cares about the messenger! Only the
messenger has to care about the messenger! Everyone else should focus on the