Extra Points: Jobs, Buffett ... Keanu? Why the 'John Wick' Star Should Be Your Business Role Model


Christopher Schobert
Director of Communications
June 28, 2019
minutes to read

Pointman’s Extra Points series highlights lessons in leadership inspired by today’s headlines.

TAKEAWAY: Not every role model for business owners needs to be a Warren Buffet type. Here’s why actor Keanu Reeves is an unexpectedly solid choice.

There is a moment in the new Netflix romantic comedy “Always Be My Maybe” in which a world-renowned chef’s new boyfriend enters a trendy restaurant. She has raved about this mystery man’s prowess as a lover and intensity as a deep thinker — so it is only fitting that the figure who enters the room is Keanu Reeves. Yes, the Keanu Reeves, playing himself. 

via giphy.com

It’s a hilarious moment, and the capper to what we might call the Summer of Keanu. May saw the release of “John Wick 3,” the latest entry in Reeves’ cool-AF hitman-on-a-rampage series. Also in cinemas is “Toy Story 4,” featuring Reeves as the voice of Duke Caboom, a Canadian stuntman toy. Plus, the internet has been flooded with stories of the actor’s kindness, his underrated talent and his enigmatic appeal. 

OK, Keanu is great. You loved “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure,” “Speed” and “The Matrix,” and you’ll happily watch John Wick log kill-shots. What’s that have to do with business?

A lot, actually. 

Reeves is not a Steve Jobs, Warren Buffett, or Mark Zuckerberg. But in his own quintessentially Keanu-ian way, the actor is a smart, sensible role model for how to carry yourself as a business owner. 

Don’t believe me? Here are a few of the traits that make Keanu Reeves an unexpectedly solid role model for business owners. 

Making an Impact — Quietly

Reeves has never been the star who shows up on TMZ or is trailed by stories of out-of-control behavior. Instead, he’s the Hollywood icon quietly donating to children’s hospitals and talking airplane passengers through an emergency landing. He does not broadcast these efforts — he doesn’t broadcast anything, really. 

Not every leader has to be the loudest voice in the room. It’s often more effective to speak and act with restraint, but also with an ability to take action when needed.   

Ability to Withstand Criticism 

For years, Reeves has been tagged as a lightweight; as Time explained, the consensus among many was that he’s “a bad actor. What he does is not really acting, he’s just playing himself.” But Reeves, of course, flourished in spite of these taunts. 

Whether you are a veteran business owner or just starting out, you’re going to face criticism, and you’re going to be told you don’t have what it takes to succeed. The businesses with real longevity are those led by owners who can take the heat. 

Taking Risks, But Also Knowing What Works

From tackling Shakespeare to directing a documentary, Reeves has never shied away from taking chances. However, he also has an innate understanding of what the public wants to see him doing on screen — to put it bluntly, kicking ass. 

Risk is vital for business success; starting your business in the first place was a risk, wasn’t it? But take the right risks, and never forget what makes you, your company and your team unique.

Kindness and Likability 

Onscreen and off, Reeves has always had an inherent likability and an air of kindness that goes a long way toward making him a box office draw. Whether you’re an actor or a business owner, being viewed this way impacts whether people want to spend their dollars to support you. 

So how can you be seen as a “likable” owner? Pointman VP of Community Engagement Tim McGuire discussed some ideas in a recent blog post. From adopting a local charity to celebrating the successes of your team and their family members, there are some simple ways to ensure your employees and the community feel the love. 

We can’t all be daredevils like Duke Caboom or ass-kickers like John Wick. But we can run our business with poise, intelligence and kindness. At Pointman, our Success Coaches work with business owners to zero in on the best ways to manage a team, make the most of individual skills and build community. Meet our Success Coaches to learn what makes our team so equipped to help you grow your business.

Look at Pricing

The start of the year is a great time to look at pricing. Usually, you have an idea of how your company fared the year prior, and you want to ensure you will continue to grow in the months to come. Many of us make New Year’s resolutions with respect to spending or saving in our personal lives, and it’s no different for business owners. Making sure your pricing is in line with where it should be is one of the strongest ways to start the year the right way.

Part of looking at your price book is finding where the issues are, and that can take time. An HVAC company in January is going to be very busy, so it’s a difficult time for a close look. However, a plumbing company might not be as busy. Whenever you tackle this job, your best bet is to look at what your labor rates are. Start there, and let it trickle down across the board. Ask yourself, “Are my labor rates helping my business stay profitable?”

Remember, there are many different services out there and many different groups or communities that you can engage. Never hesitate to say, “Hey, I’m a business owner in Florida. What should my labor rates be?” You can build your price from there. There are also some great billable hour calculators available.

Set Goals

There is no better time of year for looking inward than January. Set your personal goals and company goals for the following 12 months. If you can break those down into departmental goals, even better! Perhaps that means a CSR booking closing rates a little better, or a truck doing 250,000 a year rather than 200,000.

Many companies have found that using an Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) goal-setting system pays off. Looking for a guidebook when it comes to OKRs? Check out Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs by John Doerr. 

One key question is the best way to handle setting goals: Is it smarter for business owners to handle this solo, together with staff, or to delegate completely? 

The best approach is to set goals at the department level. As an owner, you need to take the time to understand what the goals are in each department, and make sure they are in line with your goals for the company. No one likes to set unattainable goals for themselves, so make sure you push your departments to set goals that are lofty, rather than simple ones to feel good about hitting. Entrust your staff to aim higher, and watch how they respond.

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