Managing: Profiting From Fun

The work front has become a grind. Yet some firms still believe that serious business is done better with a laugh now and then

George Zimmer bounces briskly into the conference hall of a swank California resort tucked among wooded hills with a view of Monterey Bay. The stage is decorated with headless mannequins dressed in suits and sports shirts. There's a clothes dryer, with which an executive has just demonstrated the wrinkle-free quality of a new line of shirts. But the main act is Zimmer, founder and CEO of the Men's Wearhouse, also known as the bearded pitchman with the cornball delivery who ends every commercial for his stores with his signature line, "I guarantee it!," pronounced like a carnival barker as he points...

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