November 16


Business Movie Review: Open Range

Let’s Stop, Look, and Listen to the Business Lessons we learn from the Movies…

We receive lessons in the most unique places. Believe it or not, the movies provide wonderful business lessons for us! I enjoy noticing lessons which share what to do, or what not to do, as I find both are of equal value!

On the Open Range

What can the movie, “Open Range” (2003)
teach us about our business?

Oh, there’s so many lessons here –
I think I have seen this move over 10 times now!

This classic cowboy movie is simple:
Duvall’s character (Boss) and Costner’s character (Charey) unite to battle a ruthless rancher and his henchmen in 1882. Free-grazing, which is when all cattle and stock are free to roam and eat where ever the range takes them for nourishment, is what this battle is over. Boss and Charley, with a small and scrappy little team, are wranglers. The 1880s were a time when wrangling was challenged by ranch owners fencing off their property so free-range animals wouldn’t imepede upon their land. It was a detriment to the population rate of the herds…


“A man’s trust is a valuable thing, you don’t want to loose it over a hand of cards.”

Boss said this to a young one after he was caught cheating at a card game. Trust is the key to all business relationships. Do you have your customer’s trust? Are you trustworthy? What are you doing with your potential customers to prove you are trustworthy?

COMPETITION – Don’t be better, be the best!

Free-grazing was seen as competition from the ranchers: ranchers against nature- the natural behavior of animals and nature. Funny thing about competition, you never know when you are keeping someone “out” of your territory or keeping yourself locked “in”.

The ranchers would drive all the free-grazers out of town with “muscle”. There were afraid of the competition and would start fights with the free-grazers who typically went about tending to their herds and weren’t interested in anything else.  When Charley had an opportunity to shoot one of the ranchers, who started a fight, Boss stopped him by saying, “Don’t shoot ’em in the back”.

Do you serve your customers well? Are you know for taking care of your customers? Do you elevate your business in your marketplace by doing your best? Are you covert with your competition – stop it! You will have a stronger and more loyal client base if you provide excellent and ethical service. There is nothing more threatening to your competition, than letting your customers dictate who the leader is in the marketplace!

COMMITMENT – Undying commitment to your customer and business will save the day!

As in most cowboy movies, there is a root-tootin’ gunfight in the town and Boss gets shot (don’t worry, I’m not going to spoil it for you). This scene impressed me because of Boss’s loyalty to his cause/business and his team. Boss, with blood on his chest, is still fighting. Boss completely supports his team! Do you have a team worth supporting? Will your team support you if you took a bullet? Is your team capable of handling everything if you are taken out of commission for a while? If not, it’s time to correct this, isn’t it?


  • Charley states to a younger team member, ” Most of the time a man will tell you his bad intentions [if you listen].” Are you listening to your own intuition, your customers, your team, your mentors?
  • “Let yourself hear – listen out of your good ear.” Love it 🙂  So often we pretend or ignore what we don’t want to hear. Always be listening with your good ear!
  • Boss says to Charlie, “You go ahead and talk… I’ll be hearin’ ya!” Everybody needs a boss like that? Are you that boss for your team members? For your customers?
  • “It’s the little things that’ll impact us more than we realize.” Pay attention to the details! Yes, often times it is a pain, but that is where the pay-off is 🙂 Wouldn’t it be awesome if all your customers referred you because you always have everything covered and provide excellent service? Yep, I thought so 🙂

Next Review: It’s a surprise for the holidays!

Brought to you by:
The Business Rescue Coach, Maggie Mongan
of Brilliant Breakthroughs, Inc.


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