Over the decades, Hollywood blockbusters have entertained moviegoers all over the world. Personally, as a movie buff, I find that certain stories leave a long-lasting impact on our minds. Some make you laugh, some bring tears to our eyes, some take you places you can only imagine and some inspire you with the new perspective. To cite my own experience, certain movies have inspired me to be a better leader and project management professional.
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Through a 2-part series, I want to share with you 10 such qualities from Hollywood movies.
Quality: Integrity | Film: Scent of a Woman
The movie revolves around the relationship between Charlie Simms (Chris O’Donnell), a student at an exclusive New England prep school and Lt. Col. Frank Slade, a blind retired army veteran. Charlie and George Willis, Jr., another student at the preparatory school, witness several students setting up a prank for the school’s headmaster Trask. Following the prank, Trask presses Charlie and George to divulge the names of the perpetrators. Trask offers a bribe, a letter of recommendation that would virtually guarantee his acceptance to Harvard. Charlie is torn between the prospect of a bright future and getting reprimanded for choosing integrity. (Source: IMDb)
Al Pacino’s legendary speech at the end gives you goosebumps. As a leader integrity is a virtue one cannot just compromise on. You choose integrity every time, no matter how tough the situation is. You set the example for others to follow; that’s how great cultures are built.
Quality: Inspiring teamwork | Film: Any Given Sunday
The Miami Sharks, a once-great American football team, are now in turmoil and struggling to make the AFFA (Associated Football Franchises of America) playoffs in the year of 2001. They are coached by Tony D’Amato (Al Pacino) who is a thirty-year veteran. (Source – IMDb). When the team is down and out, Coach D’Amato digs deep and brings out the best in the team for one inspiring win. The speech by Al Pacino in the dressing room gives me an adrenalin rush every time I see it (lost count).
Leaders know their people; they know how to tap into the potential. Leaders know how to inspire people to go after the seemingly impossible and make it possible. They don’t ever give up; they bring out the best in themselves and their people when the situation calls for it.
Quality: Perseverance | Film: Jerry Maguire
When a sports agent Jerry Maguire (Tom Cruise) has a moral epiphany and is fired for expressing it, he decides to put his new philosophy to the test as an independent sports agent with the only athlete who stays with him. (Source: IMDb). Jerry’s grit and determination are tested thoroughly throughout and in the end, he comes out victorious, taking his only athlete Rod Tidwell (Cuba Gooding Jr.) to glory. A story of determination and focus in the face of uncertainty, Jerry Maguire is an inspiration to all leaders.
When you step into a leadership role, you step into a territory that comes with surprises, adversities, and uncertainties. That’s just the nature of the beast. You could either get bogged down and give up or you could brave the storm and persevere towards the finish line. Leaders relish challenges, they look at them as opportunities.
Quality: Sacrifice | Film: Armageddon
World’s best deep core oil driller Harry Tamper (Bruce Willis) and his team are tasked with a near-impossible mission of landing on an asteroid and destroying it before it destroys our planet. The mission is plagued with all kinds of problems and in the end, Harry is faced with a tough decision of sacrificing his life for the planet’s future. And he goes ahead with it without the slightest hesitation.
Leadership is made out to be glamorous and its partly so J. But you have to realize there are times when it is the opposite of glamorous. When the going gets tough, you need to take tough calls; sometimes you need to put yourself in the firing line for the sake of your team, your company. You need to set the example, so your team does the same when the time comes.
Quality: Courage | Film: Alien
A commercial crew aboard the deep space towing vessel, Nostromo is on its way home when they pick up an SOS warning from a distant planet. What they don’t know is that the SOS warning is not like any other ordinary warning call. Picking up the signal, the crew realize that they are not alone on the spaceship when an alien stowaway is on the cargo ship. (Source IMDb). The story revolves around how warrant officer Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) takes control of highly dangerous and chaotic environment and sets out to save the crew and other survivors.
This movie exemplifies how courage trumps fear. When faced with incomprehensible situations or challenges, more often than not fear takes over. Once you let fear take over, failure is imminent. As leaders, you are the custodians of success and it is your responsibility to ensure success is achieved. You need to develop the courage to take the challenge head-on and put the right action plan in place to overcome it. Courage enables clarity in the face of adversity.
Watch out for the part 2 of this series in which I will be sharing 5 more qualities which have inspired me to a great extent.