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March 5, 2008

Jack Bauer, Management Guru


By D.F. Krause

Jack Bauer is nowhere to be found, and this is why I find myself struggling with management decisions lately. My management guru hasn’t been there for me.


Everything I know about business, I learned from Jack.


Since 24 went on its ungodly long hiatus thanks to the writers’ strike, I haven’t had Jack showing me what to do. That’s meant I’ve had to actually think for myself. This is not good. Jack’s gotten me through many difficult business challenges.


When you think about it, Jack’s an executive genius. He never hesitates. He’s never wrong. And he never listens to committees. Every single season of 24 has provided me with an object lesson for how to deal with a business dilemma. And following Jack’s lead has worked every time. I’ll show you:


Season 1: I found myself stuck with a business partner who worked very little, complained very much and was costing the company too much money. Every time I raised the issue, my partner said, “If you don’t like the way I do things, buy me out.”


What would Jack do? Well, when CTU sent George Mason over from Division to give Jack a hard time, Jack was pretty sure George had some skeletons in his closet that he could use against him. So he shot him in the leg with a tranquilizer gun – in his office, no less – grabbed his keycard and found the information he needed. No more trouble with George.


It was actually pretty easy to demonstrate my partner’s uselessness, and it wasn’t necessary to use any kind of weapon to deal with him, but even so . . . partner gone. Thanks Jack!


Season 2: A certain client found a lame excuse not a pay a bill. Fortunately for me, they were also a vendor. Could I use this to my advantage?


What would Jack do? When Sayed Ali was threatening to detonate a nuke in Los Angeles, Jack staged the kidnapping of Ali’s family and even convinced him he had shot one of his sons – and would shoot the rest of the family if Ali wouldn’t tell him where the nuke was. Dude sang like a canary. So I kidnapped this vendor/client’s most recent invoice and threatened to shoot it. Jack gets results.


Season 3: I had this weird kid talk me into giving him an internship. He wore all black and all he ever talked about was wanting to live in China. What a freak. I didn’t want to be attached to this kid anymore.


What would Jack do? Well, when his partner, Chase Edmunds, was attached at the wrist to a device containing a deadly virus, and the device was minutes away from blowing the virus all over the place, Jack took an axe and cut off Chase’s arm just above the wrist, then put the device in an airtight refrigerator where all it did was ruin some middle school teachers’ lunches.


Problem solved! I gave the weird kid the axe.


Season 4: My office was too big and I was paying too much for my rent. But I had two years left on my lease.


What would Jack do? Well, when terrorists working for evil mastermind Habib Marwan kidnapped the Secretary of Defense and his daughter, who was also Jack’s girlfriend, he stormed their complex and single-handedly killed like 20 of them.


So I threatened to blow up my company and single-handedly kill two years worth of lease income if the landlord wouldn’t renegotiate.


Season 5: Another client not paying. But this time I didn’t owe the client any money in return. How could I collect?


What would Jack do? Well, when Jack found out the president of the United States was behind a terrorist attack, he managed to kidnap the president and plant a listening device on him in order to extract a confession. Sweet!


So I tricked the client into saying in an e-mail to another vendor that he did, in fact, owe me the money – then I used the e-mail to beat him in a lawsuit.


Season 6: We went through a cash crunch, and I had four hours to get my hands on $21,000 or I would have big problems.


What would Jack do? Well, when Abu Fayed was an hour away from detonating a nuke in downtown Los Angeles (I know, the plots were starting to repeat themselves by this time), he grabbed onto the bottom of a truck Fayed was driving, then stormed the warehouse where he was hiding the nukes and killed all Fayed’s men, plus the Big Kahuna terrorist himself.

Sweet! So how did I apply that one? Well . . . not every management problem can be solved with the help of a guru. Sometimes when you’re in trouble, you have to stay in it for awhile. Sort of the way a lot of 24 fans view Season 6. But neither Los Angeles nor my company got nuked!


Now I just have to hope I can hold things together before Season 7 hits the air in 2009. They say Jack’s old partner, Tony Almeida, is returning as the villain. Former partner returns as tormenter?


Nah . . .


© 2008 North Star Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.


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