Analsis of Jerry Maguire
The ability to change and adapt is a skill that can make or break a careetalr, in the case of Jerry Maguire, it was both. The curious case of an individual who seemingly had everything that any individual would want; money, power, a strong woman, and respect who had lost it all after a midnight revelation. The film chronicles his development as a leader in the sports agent industry despite constant societal pressures. Jerry Maguire is able to survive his fall from grace and assert himself as a dominant figure in the ultra-competitive realm of player marketing.
The film begins with Jerry Maguire, a smooth talking, talented sports agent who represents seventy-two agents for Sports Management International. He is revered as a leader in the environment, when he walks into the room, everyone stops and notices him and listen to what he says. The success is plentiful; he has a beautiful fiance, a luxurious car, several cell phones, highly respected by his peers and the prestige of being one of the accomplished sports agent at the age of 35.
Initially, Jerry’s tactics are cold, calculated and ruthless, selling limited value at a premium; he would tell players what they wanted to hear in order to retain them. While fighting with his fiance, Avery Bishop, she states that Jerry told her that there is no such thing as loyalty; this alludes that in the mind of Jerry that any and everything can be bought or acquired. The firm that Jerry works for is highly competitive even amongst staff where agents will constantly try to go after each other’s players.
One night after visiting a client in the hospital who is recovering from his fourth concussion, Jerry is met in the hallway by the client’s son who questions if Jerry’s motivation is the interest of his client or if his interest is in making money. That night Jerry wakes up in the middle of the night suffering from a mental breakdown, the words and actions of the son echo through his mind and he begins to write on a mission statement for his company. His mission statement focused on the simple joys of the jobs, the importance of protecting the players in health and in imagery.
The statement called for fewer clients and less money, focusing on the individual with more attention and caring for the lives. After completing the mission statement he regards that he had “lost his ability to bullshit” and that he had “finally felt like his father’s son again. ” At this point in the film, Jerry is forced to have to adapt between his new mindset as a sports agent and his uncanny desire to live by doing what is right for the individual regardless of the expected revenue.
The revelation that he encounters is the Jerry Maguire breaking away from the industry standard, in a world where the smoothest talker is often the most victorious, he had finally felt alive once he realized that the lens he had been viewing his job, his life and himself was not true to himself. It was at this point that Jerry Maguire was able to transcend from a sports agent mogul to an industry leader.
He titled his mission statement as, “The Things We Think and Do Not Say, the Future of Our Business” then produced one hundred and ten copies, dispensing the statement throughout the organization only to have has his employment terminated within a week by his alleged friend and mentee, Bob Sugar. At this moment, Jerry is believing that his seventy-two clients will follow him when he opens his own firm, however through the slandering of Bob Sugar and the sporting agency, Jerry is only able to have contact with three clients, Kathy Sanders, Frank Cushman and Rod Tidwell.
Kathy Sanders pledges her loyalty to Maguire only to deny his request to leave SMI for his firm because she is in the middle of filming a commercial. Maguire is discouraged by the lack of commitment by Sanders but still holds to the belief that his clients truly love him and will follow. Frank Cushman is the star athlete of Southern Methodist University who is expected to go first overall in the highly anticipated upcoming NFL Draft. Cushman was deemed to be the prize of the firm, Maguire makes desperate attempts to sway Cushman’s father into signing a contract with him.
Initially, Cushman stays loyal to Maguire even so much to state that while he does not believe in contracts his word is as “strong as oak. ” However, the night before the draft, Bob Sugar meets with the Cushman family and signs a contract while Maguire was preforming a meet and greet with the last remaining prospective client. The last minute change has an effect on Maguire, it relates back to the thought that loyalty is nonexistent, but it enables Maguire to focus on the one client who has consistently been there or him during his time of trail and tribulations.
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Rod Tidwell is Maguire’s last option as a client, he is eccentric, egotistical, proud, and slightly delusional, this requires Maguire’s full attention as the two develop a relationship based on needs. Maguire needs Tidwell to stay on as his client while Tidwell needs Maguire to negotiate with the Cardinals for a contract extension with the dollar value on par with marquee talent.
Amidst the attempt to salvage his career, Maguire also faces personal issues, he realizes that the woman to whom he loves and loves him is everything he was pre-revelation and this sickens him causing him to break off the engagement when she fails to be supportive when he has fallen off his greatness. It is during this fiasco of both a personal and professional life that causes Maguire to constantly frame and reframe his life in order to handle the societal pressures of having to be successful as well as the pressures to find true happiness and success.
On his last day at Sports Management International he propositions the office to come with him as he opens up his new firm, only one person displays loyalty, Dorothy Boyd, a 26 year old single mother who does accounting at the firm. She tells Maguire that she followed him because after reading his mission statement she felt inspired. The film continues to illustrate the rocky relationship between Boyd and Maguire from the development of employer to employee to lovers to husband and wife all while Maguire struggles with the inner conflicts of the illusion that he is incapable of being sentimental.
Ray Boyd is Dorothy’s six year old son who takes a shine to Maguire and who Maguire becomes very fond of and even grows to love, despite the personal and professional lives demolishing around Maguire he always has Ray’s unconditional love and admiration. Jerry Maguire is able to handle the societal pressures by applying the four frames of leadership into every aspect of his developing life. The first frame applied by Jerry Maguire is the structural frame, this frame was heavily used during the beginning of the film during his ascend to the top of the world of sport agents.
Although this is not explicitly stated in the film, initially Jerry Maguire views success as the amount of prestige he has and what material goods he has over his peers. The path to prestige in his industry is one that requires him to remove himself from having feelings and focus on enhancing the bottom line. The industry views athletes as commodities and treat these players as such. The general rules of the structure are as many clients as possible to generate revenue and to ensure that every represented individual feels that their interests are completely looked after despite the bottom line.
This frame creates an illusion of false happiness and forces Maguire initially to act within the confines of the structure to achieve success and change as leader. Once he accepts that this is a frame caused by societal pressure he changes his style of thinking from structural to human resource where he shift his focus from the bottom line to the status of the individual. He first applies the Human Resource frame; this requires the individual to value the family with regards of the empowerment of leadership.
Maguire first exhibits utilization of this frame when encountering the hospital ridden client’s son who alters Maguire’s perspective by placing the value of the safety and health of his clients over the intrinsic value of money and prestige. This preempts him to write his mission statement and enables him to show that Avery is not the right woman for him, that she does not empower Maguire to be successful and inspire. It is through the frame of human resource that Maguire is able to recognize unconditional love through Ray and the devotion and support of Dorothy.
She is truly empowered by him, moved by his words enough to leave her job, enough to defend him amongst the criticisms held by her sister to state that she loves Maguire for the man he wants to be and the man he almost is. This frame is arguably the frame that dictates Maguire’s actions in the film which once his revelation occurs he is only able to think within the scope of doing what is best for the Tidwells, Dorothy and Ray and lastly himself and his image.
It is through the human resource frame that he is best able to realize that true leadership comes within the acceptance of those who are following and once those who are following have their needs satisfied. Maguire quotes his mentor Dicky Fox and states that the art of business is the strength of personal relationships, the human resource model exemplifies the advice. The political frame is based upon competition, as Maguire develops into a eader he develops the skill of looking at situations based upon competition and regards the importance of a power base.
When Maguire has his employment terminated by Bob Sugar he states that he is going to bring over all of his clients as well as Sugar’s to his new firm, the two engage in a battle of who can gain and retain the most clients. This battle leads Sugar to gain all but one of Maguire’s clients and forces Maguire to shift his thinking from seeing the power of numbers to the power of just one.
Initially Maguire is reluctant to invest his time and energy into the development and advancement of Tidwell, however through the development of their personal relationship he realizes that he is able to make a difference and still gain a level of prestige by focusing on less clients and less money, in essence, he is following his mission statement. The symbolic frame is utilized by Maguire when he takes on the role of the father figure to Ray, the child is open and unconditional to Maguire and this is a foreign feeling to him.
Prior to the breakup with Avery, his co-workers organized a bachelor party in which they interviewed Maguire’s past girlfriends and they all stated that he was unable to be sentimental, true and caring. Ray offered Maguire each of the attributes without asking for anything in return. Unlike previous girlfriends who sought after power, sex, money or prestige from Maguire, Ray enjoyed and valued his company. This in turn allowed Maguire to place value in the symbolism of friendship and ultimately parenthood.
Society has created an illusion that states that you are not successful unless you have the most power at your job, the hottest significant other, the most luxurious car and the respect of everyone. The thought of having to accomplish each realm places a great deal of pressure onto the individual and this ultimately led to the nervous breakdown and the creation of the mission statement. The statement may have initially been written for Sports Management International but ultimately it was a mission statement for Jerry Maguire to live his life.
The development of Jerry Maguire focuses on the transitional shifts between frames of thinking as he embarks on different ventures throughout his life. Each of the four frames allowed Maguire to develop as an individual because had the ability to shift his thinking and way of looking at a situation. Maguire was able to use these four frames to determine what was flawed in his industry as well as society. The ability to use frames enables the leader to have a greater understanding of what is going on with respect to the situation.
It can be difficult to remove oneself from a situation and look at it through different frames, however framing and reframing allows for adaptive change to occur, Maguire realized that the direction of the business was corrupt and decided to make a stand, ultimately his stand met with termination of employment. However, he was able to adapt to the demands of the market of competition and was able to become successful by his standard.
It was the human resource frame that enabled Maguire to inspire Dorothy to leave her job and to follow up because he stood up for the one thing the industry lacked, integrity. The movie closes out with a quote by Dicky Fox, “In life, to be honest, I failed as much as I have succeeded. But I love my wife, I love my life and I wish you know my kind of success.