UK: Management Lessons From Hollywood - Business with a near-Midas touch.

UK: Management Lessons From Hollywood - Business with a near-Midas touch. - With all the latest technology, women in key positions, and a strong understanding of signature branding, Goldfinger was, in many ways, ahead of his time.

by Rhymer Rigby.
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

With all the latest technology, women in key positions, and a strong understanding of signature branding, Goldfinger was, in many ways, ahead of his time.

Goldfinger is the third and, arguably, the finest of the Bond films: with two successful predecessors, it enjoyed a big budget but its hero retained the Machiavellian, misogynist unpleasantness of Fleming's original.

Auric Goldfinger, the eponymous villain, plans to detonate an 'atomic device' in Fort Knox, rendering the US gold reserves radioactive. This, he calculates, will push up the value of his considerable personal holdings tenfold. Naturally, the British government doesn't want to see a key ally's economy catastrophically undermined so our hero James Bond is dispatched in his first Aston Martin. In what is essentially a commodity market-led thriller, both hero and villain have much to teach the modern manager.

Investing in new technology 'Do you expect me to talk?' asks Bond.

'No, Mr Bond, I expect you to die', chuckles Goldfinger, injecting levity into a rather formal occasion. Keen to keep abreast of technological developments, Goldfinger has invested in a powerful, new-fangled laser. By demonstrating it on Bond's reproductive organs, he shows that he is not above a bit of theatre when it comes to showcasing his latest product.

Discretion and 'need to know' 'Felix, say hello to Dink; Dink, say goodbye to Felix - man's talk,' says Bond, dismissing his pulchritudinous companion with a playful slap on the buttocks. James and Felix have 'board-level' business to discuss, which may involve highly sensitive corporate issues. Having a junior member of staff present would be inappropriate, so Bond dismisses her - tactfully and with respect for her feelings.

Equal opportunities Bond regains consciousness to find himself on a plane staring at the redoubtable Pussy Galore. Unlike Dr No, who employed Ursula Andress to loiter prettily in a bikini, the forward-thinking Goldfinger has taken feminist issues on board and is happy to place women in key positions of responsibility.

Pussy is his personal pilot and will also play a crucial role in his plan to destabilise Western economies.

Use of trademarks Jill, one of Goldfinger's staff, has violated her contract by sleeping with Bond. So Goldfinger directs Oddjob to execute her by spray-painting her gold, resulting in 'skin suffocation'. Had he opted for the more pedestrian bullet or poison, this would have been just another senseless killing. But, by using gold paint, Goldfinger effectively signs his name and makes a powerful statement about corporate values.

Over-reliance on one product In Fort Knox, Oddjob attempts to finish Bond off, using his razor-rimmed hat. As he retrieves the hat, James puts a severed electric cable to the steel bars in which it is lodged and electrocutes his adversary. Oddjob is a talented and stylish killer but he relies too heavily on one product - his hat. Expanding his range to encompass, say, guns, would have allowed him to terminate Bond at a safe distance.

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