A Night At The Roxbury was a spin-off movie from Saturday Night Live. It starred The Roxbury guys Doug (Chris Kattan) and Steve Butabi (Will Ferrell). These guys would go out clubbing in their rayon suits and try to pick up women. Their methods were crude and ineffective.
They were trainwrecks. Yet, somehow, the skit was transformed into a comedy classic with A Night At The Roxbury.
The movie finds them trying to get into the high-end, exclusive nightclub the Roxbury. Their attempts were swarted until a fateful accident. This accident led the guys to meet the club owner, Benny Zadir (Chazz Palminiteri).
Their meeting led to their dreams being fulfilled, though it wasn’t easy.
We will look at A Night At The Roxbury to discover the leadership lessons in the movie today. I hope you’re ready and grabbed your popcorn. It’s time for Reel Leadership.
Quotes And Leadership Lessons From A Night At The Roxbury
1. Not everyone wants you:
One of the things Doug and Steve believed was that they were desired by every woman they were near. They had cheesy pickup lines. They would approach women as if they wanted their personal spaces invaded by the guys.
In one scene at A Night At The Roxbury, the guys were at a bar. They look up. They see a woman on the balcony. The woman was making a motion. The guys instantly thought she was motioning at them.
As we rise up the ranks of leadership, it can be easy to fall into a trap. We can begin to believe we’re hot stuff.
We look at others and think they want us.
But that’s not the case. Not everyone wants us to be on their team. Not everyone wants us to be around.
Be aware of reality. Know not everyone wants you.
2. Realize when you’re ineffective:
Steve and Doug go and talk to two blonde women. They tell them a story about meeting Emilio Esteves. The women are not interested.
This same scenario repeats ad nauseam throughout the movie. The guys go to women, share the same story, and get summarily dismissed, though they don’t realize it.
We can be like Steve and Doug. We believe our story has power behind it. Or we’re trying to impress someone with a story we think will move our status with that person.
We cannot be so unaware that we fail to realize our story is ineffective. Make an effort to read the room and people you’re interacting with. If what you’re doing is ineffective, change your methods.
3. Roxbury Bouncer (the late, great actor Michael Clarke Duncan):
This is the Roxbury. No one gets in unless they’re on the list.
In an attempt to get into the Roxbury, Steve and Doug try to cut through the line. They go up to the bouncer and try to get in.
The bouncer asks them their names. They give their names. They get rejected because they’re not on the list.
The Roxbury only allowed people early entry if their name was on the list. No name, no entry.
Sometimes, we feel like we need to cut the line, so to say. We feel like we’ve done the work, made the impressions, and have earned the right to skip to the top of the leadership line.
Instead of thinking we’ve earned it, we’ve got to continue working on our skills. We have to push ourselves to grow, change, and improve.
By doing this, we work our way up the leadership line.
4. Know your vision:
Doug and Steve had a dream. They wanted out of their father’s, Kamehl (Dan Hedaya), flower shop. Their big dream was to own a nightclub similar to The Roxbury.
Doug used flowers and figures from the flower shop to lay out their plan. He had basically created a vision board of what it would look like.
They knew their vision. They had it hidden in their hearts.
Do you know your vision for your organization and future? Do you know exactly what it would look like?
If not, be like Doug. Figure out what you need to do and what it will look like.
Write it out. Draw a picture of it. Cut photos out of a magazine and piece them together.
Get a clear picture of your vision.
5. Listen to coaches:
Craig (Lochlyn Munro) was a trainer at the local gym. Doug and Steve had gone to the gym to work out. Craig saw them there and approached them when he saw them exercising.
There was something Doug and Steve were doing incorrectly. They weren’t fully extending for their triceps workout. This would make their exercise less effective.
Craig felt it was a hard talk. It was, for Craig.
Great leaders have coaches. They know they don’t have all the answers. There are people who have gone before them.
They hire these people to coach them through challenging situations.
But, what can happen? We hire a coach, the coach has a hard talk with us, and then we fail to listen to the coach.
Listen to the coaches you hire. You brought them in for a reason.
6. Be careful of what impresses you:
The guys had an accident. Actor Richard Grieco accidentally rear-ended the flower van the guys were driving.
Richard freaked out. He didn’t want any trouble. This led to an opportunity that got the guys into the Roxbury.
When the guys got there, Doug and Scott were amazed at the room they were in. They thought the Roxbury was amazing.
Only problem? The room they were in was the coatroom.
We can become impressed with things that are not important or not the real issue. We can look at something and freak out. We’ve finally made it! We landed the contract of the millennium!
Only to discover that these things weren’t as big as we thought.
Be careful of what impresses you. Many times, it’s not important.
7. Know when to talk business:
Steve and Doug got to meet the club owner Zadir. They sat and discussed a couple of things. Then Steve tried to offer an idea to Zadir.
Steve told Zadir he should cover the pool with glass. He could then use the extra space as a dance floor.
Zadir cut him off. He told them “Let’s not talk business at the party.”
There’s a time and place to discuss business. We have to be aware of this.
I recently heard this mentioned in an audiobook I was listening to. In The Introvert’s Edge To Networking by Matthew Pollard, Pollard shared how to network as an introvert effectively. He mentioned that there was a time to make business deals. It’s typically not at the networking event.
Know when to talk business. Know when to grow relationships.
These two things will change the way you do business.
8. There will be people who try to stop you:
Zadir had a bodyguard named Dooey (Colin Quinn). Before the night was done, Zadir had told the guys they had a meeting at his headquarters. The guys were stoked.
When they got to the meeting place, they discovered their names were not on the list. They broke through security and found Zadir in a meeting. They tried to get his attention. They failed and were dragged off by security.
Dooey approached the guys. He told them Zadir was drunk. Zadir didn’t remember them. To never come back.
Was this reality? No. Zadir did remember them. Dooey was trying to stop Doug and Steve.
Beware of people who will try to stop you. They are scared, concerned, or just don’t like you.
Make sure you’re not giving in to the gatekeepers. You can break through. You can get to the decision-makers.
Keep moving forward.
I drag me down.
Doug and Steve had become estranged. Their dreams had been dashed and Steve felt like he needed to settle.
After breaking up Steve’s wedding to Emily Sanderson (Molly Shannon), the guys have a conversation. It comes up that Doug has finally realized that he, himself drags himself down.
Where do many of our troubles come from? It’s not an easy answer but the truth is we drag ourselves down. It’s not other people. We do it to ourselves.
Watch what you do. Watch what you say. You will discover this is true in your life as well.
Do what it takes to stop dragging yourself down.
10. We’re tougher on those who are like us:
Kamehl talks to Richard Greico. He admits a truth he has had a hard time accepting.
Kamehl was harder on Doug than Steve. Why? Because Kamehl saw himself in Doug.
This made raising him difficult. He wanted Doug to make better choices than he had. This meant he had to be tough.
Look at how you’re treating your team. Are there people you’re unfairly harsh to? What’s the reason?
You’ll probably discover they’re a lot more like you than you want to recognize.