Friday, December 09, 2011

Was Bob Cratchit a B level worker?

One of my traditions at this time of year is to see both versions of the Miracle on 34th Street (interestingly George Seaton is given credit in both movies for writing the screenplay although he died more than fifteen years before the second movie) and then a series of versions of a Christmas Carol.

This afternoon I saw the later version of Miracle and then in my afternoon  workout saw the Alistair Sim version (Scrooge) and began the Bill Murray version (Scrooged).  But as I watched the Sim version I was struck with a question - was Ebeneezer's clerk a B guy - using the definition that Steve Jobs used in evaluating people (he only wanted to work with A people).   I've worked for people like that (former Treasury Secretary Bill Simon was like that) and if you come up on their wrong side you may not be able to correct the problem.  One commentator said about the current business environment "Today, the bottom line is more important than the people who are out there in the stores making the money for the faceless money-mongers who dictate the policies.
"  From my point of view this moving characters ahead by a century and a half is just plain silly.

There has been a lot of writing about the inadequacies of Cratchit.   At the beginning of the story - Cratchit is a feckless person working for someone with a singleminded approach to business. (Scrooge)  Scrooge could either be an A or a B masquerading as an A.  But based on Dickens' description he seems to have been an A.

Cratchit seems to be a bit more laid back.  He wants to get off "the whole day" to be with his family.  He accepts Scrooge's miserly wages.   And he seems committed to his family.   But we really do not have a good impression of what kinds of skills Scrooge's clerk actually has.

In my mind Type A people in business have a single minded determination to succeed but they may also have human characteristics.  I've certainly found a lot of entrepreneurs who want to succeed but also have balance in their lives.

But the simple answer is we do not have enough information to decide.  Cratchit may or may not be a Type B - but regardless, A Christmas Carol is a type A story.

1 comment:

eveningson said...

I always watch this movie and always shed a tear when Ebenezer finally gets it. None ever made that equaled this.