Portrait of Leadership: Ari Gold, Vince, Turtle, Eric, and Johnny B.



Best Experienced With:      Jane’s Addiction;                Superhero

(please right click on the link below to open the suggested background music for this evening’s treatise in a new browser window.  Welcome to Juan’s Addicion week in The Attic)


Maxwell’s equation is:


Maxwell’s equation has nothing to do with anything that is written this evening:  it has been a lonely equation looking for a place to pop up for a few years.   Have  no idea how to use Maxwell’s equation.   This works well because it has nothing to do with anything that is written here.  Maxwell’s equation is, YTD, the finest non sequitur of 2010, although we will not award the non sequitur of the year award until midnight on December 31, 2010.


Two long standing leadership questions.  What is the difference between management and leadership?  Is it better to be loved or feared?  Both are as entertaining to debate and as solvable as the chicken and the egg riddle thingy.  Neither questions matter, although both debates are invigorating and entertaining.


The three coolest things in the universe are James Dean, James Dean’s leather jacket, and suicide doors on any vehicle.  Mister Rodgers or Glenn Beck could buy a 1996 Yugo, retrofit that car with suicide doors and be the coolest guy in their neighborhood because of the suicide doors.  That’s how cool suicide doors are.


Damn shame that Donald Turnupseed was unable to keep his car in his own lane that day in 1955.  Damn shame.


Over twenty-five years, Barry Posner and James Kouzes have amassed more than 3,000,000,000 data points about what the best leaders in a wide variety of companies do best each day.  These leaders get up, have coffee, and lead very well.  Somewhat different than what Ricky Bobby does each morning, yet eerily close to what Ricky Bobby does each day in terms of results.  When leaders did what they did best each day, it boiled down to doing five seemingly obvious things.

Posner and Kouzes’ five practices of exemplary leadership are

  1.  Challenging the process
  2. Inspiring a sharing vision
  3. Enabling others to act
  4. Modeling the way
  5. Encouraging the heart



The gents of Entourage have suicide doors on their triple black 1965 Cadillac convertible.  If you consider Vince, Eric, Turtle, and Johnny Bravo, they each exemplify Posner and Kouzes’ five practices in their own individual fashion in most of the Entourage episodes.  Plus they have  really, really cool suicide doors on their car.  Print this out and go pull up an episode of Entourage on your “On-Demand” system.  Compare P&K’s list with Turtle, Eric, Johnny Bravo, and Vince’s behavior in any episode.



When I left my first surgical sales and management gig in 2000, thought it would be a wise investment to spend the cash I won in the 1986 Irish Lottery on a PhD in Organizational Behavior at UC Irvine’s Paul Merage School of Business.  Firmly believe that businesses do not fail because of a poor product, poor financial leverage, or poor anything else.  Businesses fail because of poor leadership and the forcing of square pegs into round holes.  Organizational behavior and ironclad cultures are the foundation of successful companies, successful relationships, and successful parenting.

Quit that ten year gig on Valentine’s Day, 2000 with ninety days notice.  Went to Nepal for a bit to watch the beginning days of the Maoist revolution that we are currently watching explode in Kathmandu. Maoists were cutting off soldiers’ heads with surprisingly dull knives…….more on that next week.    Came home, applied to UC Irvine, got denied, went for a visit so they could say no to my smiling face, and got the preliminary thumbs up.  Planned on being the Michael Jordan of the organizational behavior market space, minus that stupid baseball thing.

Had the six year plan all sketched out when the program director, Claudia Bird Schoonhoven saved my life and UC Irvine’s incoming 2000 class.   Dr. Schoonhoven sat me down in her office, looked me in the eye, and said:  “you and I both know you do not love  you some research and neither of us is going to be happy at the end of six years.  Let’s hug it out and break up early instead of at the end of year two.”

Dr. Schoonhoven was dead on in her assessment and we hugged it out.  We each sighed and took the path more travelled by.  It did make all the difference in the world.  In retrospect, her OB program got a better doctoral candidate and I never had to fake joy while choosing a null hypothesis and a chi or rho.  My lack of talent in research and PhD-type activities would have rapidly surpassed my lack of talent in basketball-type activities.

Back in 1988, when I had the first “medical” sales job (a short stint in pharmaceutical sales that made me want to stick salt covered forks in my eyes as the sun came up each day), I was blessed with a sales manager as deep as Lake Tahoe.  One day as we were driving through York, Maine in my black on black, saltpeteresque Pontiac Bonneville sedan, Danny Mo handed me a hand written leadership poem.  Best poemish leadership synopsis in the galaxy.   Far less time consuming and far less opportunity cost when compared to UC Irvine’s value proposition.  Win-win.

Ari Gold’s character on Entourage answers the second leadership question up there in paragraph three.  It is best to be both loved and feared.  Ari Gold’s character personifies the poem Danny Mo handed over back in 1989.  As the best poems often do, all lines still ring true decades later.  Each line also can be applied to how Ari Gold leads as a benevolent despot.   Didn’t need a six year PhD program…..only needed that poem from Danny Mo.   Have shared it with new managers for twenty years.    Now it is yours to share.    


The Challenge of Leadership


  • I challenge you to do what you wisely want to do and can do best and then be proud doing that.


  • I challenge you not to criticize unless you are willing to help.


  • I challenge you to know yourself and be yourself, and to be able to laugh at yourself.


  • I challenge you to have patience with the mistakes of others, and with the genius of every man


  • I challenge you to stand up for what you believe and to question that which you know to be wrong.


  • I challenge you to be dissatisfied, to constantly seek improvement of your world.


  • I challenge you to look forward to the future with a feeling of confidence.


  • I challenge you to keep your promises-to yourself, your civilization, your parents, your friends, and your God.


  • I challenge you to responsibly accept the constant itching challenge of leadership.


                                                                                                                     (Tom Hubbard:   1943-1961)





The Mind of Mully


Brick, stone

Cannot hurt me

Mad man

Around the city, goes






For more information on Posner and Kouzes and their leadership practices inventory, please visit their site here:




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3 responses to “Portrait of Leadership: Ari Gold, Vince, Turtle, Eric, and Johnny B.

  1. Kristi

    Feeling a bit inspired…..but left wondering about your relationship or lack thereof with Jessica Simpson? (and/or James Dean..)

    • surfer1965

      I continue to have no relationship with Jessica Simpson because she clearly has had a frontal lobotomy and I like to date people that actually wear clothing.

      My relationship with Mr. Dean is far more complex, although just as non existent as my relationship with Ms. Simpson. Somewhere between the angst of “Rebel Without a Cause” and the bravado of “Giant” is where that relationship barely survives.

      And my favorite Pop Tart is the cinnamon one and you should coat it with “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” the second it pops up. Then, swiftly, bring it me.


      • Kristi

        Yeah, I got your butter, and thanks for clearing up that thing about the pop tart. Peace.

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