Jim Carrey loves to make fun of some of the most well-respected people in business and media.
As his latest HBO special, ‘Jim Carrey: You Can’t Spell America Without Me’, recently premiered in theaters and on HBO, the comedian narrated clips of famous executives with humorous little segments. Jim’s monologue made fun of AOL’s Meg Whitman, CBS’ Leslie Moonves, Apple’s Tim Cook, Google’s Sergey Brin, former Disney CEO Michael Eisner, and MediaVest’s Laura Desmond.
In a caption for one segment, Jim said, “These business leaders — on the outside at least — seem to have it all: power, money, status and the ‘it’ factor.”
He then said, “Even when they screw up, don’t fire them. One’s success is a one-way ticket to job loss. Two’s a four-way partnership with Larry Ellison and Sergey Brin. And three’s 100 percent guaranteed to make for an amazing vacation home or a private jet. What I’m saying is when you mess up, don’t fire the CEO. But hire him again.”
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The CEO candor obviously earned Jim quite a few laughs, but what are some lessons we can learn from this comical special? And how can the average business owner learn from Jim?
Predictably, Jim’s joke that the three CEOs with “100 percent guaranteed” vacation homes wouldn’t be fired is true. If there was a catch, I can’t imagine any of the three bosses letting that slide.
But hiring a CEO that you know will screw up is a lot easier said than done. I have been fortunate to work with both CEOs who made it to 100 percent guarantees and CEOs who did not. My hiring philosophy has been very simple — whether he is 100 percent guaranteed and guarantees will never fire me or he is guaranteed to fire me and will own me for life, his performance will not ruin my business. Whether I am 100 percent guaranteed or 100 percent guaranteed, it comes down to the fact that if he is 100 percent guaranteed and will fire me, he needs to commit to the job.
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I have been proud of the fact that most CEOs who have made it to 100 percent guaranteed or promised jobs have held those jobs and made me proud as an owner.
When other companies were perfecting this philosophy, Jim would mock them for their poor management. But I have been able to learn that this is actually good for me as an owner and employee.
Since I have been able to learn this lesson, I have created an environment at my business that isn’t perfect, but it is far better than the one Jim destroyed. With the right management in place, 100 percent guaranteed or guaranteed, what I have built has been outstanding.
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Who has blown past me? Why? Because it all comes down to performance. A great leader doesn’t need 100 percent guaranteed jobs or guaranteed employment. He or she does it because he or she wants to leave a legacy and that’s usually what leads to performance. Maybe Jim was onto something here when he said, “When you mess up, don’t fire the CEO. But hire him again.”
How about you? Let me know if you have ever made an executive hire or fired a CEO.