Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Move along there

I am not sure why, but I think Ride Along 2 could have been so much funnier... The two lead characters just seemed to be holding back. Obviously I am no comedy film writer, so I cannot say how this could have been done... (perhaps aiming for a 12A certificate was part of it). But I know there was sufficient twinkle in the eyes of all the actors that made me feel that they had more fun off camera than on it.

And the story was just a tad too predictable. It really did not have to be: and so it felt like lazy scriptwriting and production. The actors do a fine job but the material they had to work with could have been much better. Maybe wait until the DVD comes out...


Being predictable is an interesting challenge for leaders. Should leaders be consistent, a known quantity? There is a safety and solidity in predictability. It creates a stable environment and everyone knows where they stand, especially in relation to the leader. Such a place is a firm base for high performance...

But should a leader want this level of comfort. Shouldn't leaders shake things up and be... unpredictable? If the measure of a leader is anything, it is the degree to which she/he creates a dynamic environment where innovation and energy crackle and pulsate.

How predictable are you: should you be more or less so? 

_____________________

Blog 151: in my 2014/15/16 series of blogs about leadership ideas to be found in the movies of our time. You can read here as why I began doing this (with an update at the end of 2014 and 2015). Please subscribe to this blog if you want to read more. Thanks. Click the label 'film' to see all the others.

What are your principles?

Trumbo is a stonking good movie, especially for progressive film buffs like me who do believe, (ironically just like the UnAmerican Activities Committee), that films can be real agents of positive change in the world. It would be interesting to list all the films that have bolstered or even created social movements. Spartacus, one of Trumbo's scripts, may well be one of them.

The acting is tight and up close. The story is very well told and richly brings this part of American history to life. Again I would praise the costumes and sets: so well done, so evocative of the period. It is both a funny and sad film that will make you think, lots! Go see this as soon as you can.


Films like Trumbo raise the question: how far would you go to assert or defend your principles? Would you go to jail for them...? Would you be prepared to die for them...? Most of us never have to make choices of that scale, thankfully. But we do have to 'stick to' our principles, do we not? Otherwise what sort of principles are they?

Every leader needs a set of principles. But uncovering these is not always straightforward: we live them rather than list them. But I think, as this film shows, we have to know consciously what our principles are so that we know when we will need to assert or defend them.

What are your leadership principles?

_____________________

Blog 150: in my 2014/15/16 series of blogs about leadership ideas to be found in the movies of our time. You can read here as why I began doing this (with an update at the end of 2014 and 2015). Please subscribe to this blog if you want to read more. Thanks. Click the label 'film' to see all the others.

Friday, 5 February 2016

33 amazing stories

The 33 is an achingly good film which captures the heart of the story of the 33 miners who trapped in a Chilean mine a few years ago. These were brave men who worked together to survive and keep each other alive under almost impossible circumstances.

The story telling is clever in the way it manages to connect the lives of those on top of the earth and those trapped below, particularly with one enchanting scene. I suspect the real circumstances were far more disordered and dishevelled than the film portrays but the love, urgency and desperation is well directed and acted onto the screen. This is a compelling and hugely moving film, and one to see.


This is a story of teamwork both above and below ground. The end of the story would not have happened without each person understanding what everyone collectively and separately had to contribute, and honouring everyone else in the process. It is rare to see such teamwork.

Perhaps it was helped by a there being a very clear objective: get all the miners out alive. This focus made sure than everyone knew what part theirs was to play. The circumstances dictated this. In less challenging situations, it falls to the leader to ensure that there is sufficient focus and direction. All too often teams fall apart over a lack of such direction.

How good are you are establishing direction?

_____________________

Blog 149: in my 2014/15/16 series of blogs about leadership ideas to be found in the movies of our time. You can read here as why I began doing this (with an update at the end of 2014 and 2015). Please subscribe to this blog if you want to read more. Thanks. Click the label 'film' to see all the others.

Cracking Questions: business transformation source code

Every now and then a book comes along that that looks set to transform how business is done in the world. "Cracking Questions" is one such book.

Ludicrous claim or just possibly true? Only you, the reader, can answer that question.

And unlike possibly any business book before, this one comes with  a money back guarantee. So without risk to your bank balance, you can find out whether "Cracking Questions" will change the way you do business for the better, forever (or not).

This book rests on the simple idea: everyone can be an innovator. At the heart of this book are 24 questions which can help anyone discover new ways of getting more with less.

You just have to ask the questions.

Moreover, you won't need teams of besuited consultants to show you how to do this. Nor will you need to consume reams of flip chart paper mapping processes or imagineering customer journeys.

And it's not a long book: a bath time read if you wish (maybe with a top up 2/3 way through).

Is this a book that you can afford not to read?

Might "Cracking Questions" be just the book you have been searching for: one that will help you gain that productivity edge?

"Cracking Questions" is available from all the usual online book stores (with a Kindle ebook coming out very soon)
Read here why I wrote Cracking Questions.


And here is the book blurb:
Inside this book are some cracking questions designed to help you crack open and liberate the creative and ingenious power within yourself and your organisation. These questions will stimulate your thinking about how to do business in entirely different ways. And this could well be the first book on business transformation and leadership that you will not only want to, but will indeed read, from cover to cover. Does that interest you? Have you have been searching for a book that will help you gain the performance edge that you have been seeking? Could this be that book? Have you ever had that nagging feeling that there must be better ways to get more results: ways of really achieving more with less? But you don't quite know how or where to start? This book offers you a straightforward and practical approach to improving productivity. Critically this book is about doing it yourself, with your colleagues: rather than hiring small armies of transformation consultants to fill forests of flip chart paper with process maps. This book comes with a money back guarantee. You have nothing to lose and so much to gain by purchasing this book. What do you want to do with this opportunity?
Publisher: The Choir Press
ISBN: 9781910864319

Friday, 29 January 2016

Outside light

Spotlight is a stunning film. A truly stunning film that deserves to get both box office and critical success. The acting is tight, the editing is seamless, the narrative is gripping and the overall pace, just sublime. The musical score adds to the overall tension and the cinematography is very clever.

This is a film that you really must see, in my view. The films shows again, to me, that some of the best stories are based on real stories. Indeed, in part, that is what gives them and this film, the edge... I could deplete my supply of superlatives for this film: amazing, brilliant, powerfully disturbing, uplifting, restorative (in believing in the potency of good journalism...) Go. See. This. Film.


For me the film raises a fundamental question of leadership: can a leader be in the system while also leading it? The answer is yes and no. A leader needs to stand apart and sees the system from the outside to help resolve how the system can grow and improve. But a leader also needs to know how the system 'breathes' and so cannot be too distant or remote.

Reconciling this polarity is one of the critical tasks of all leaders: how to be 'in' but not 'of' the system. It is a task with which leaders can start out well but can become less able as time goes on. The art is in monitoring oneself.

How are you self monitoring your balance between having one foot in and one foot out of the system you are leading?

_____________________

Blog 148: in my 2014/15/16 series of blogs about leadership ideas to be found in the movies of our time. You can read here as why I began doing this (with an update at the end of 2014 and 2015). Please subscribe to this blog if you want to read more. Thanks. Click the label 'film' to see all the others.

Wave goodbye

SPOILER ALERT (for a duff movie, I would add)

The Fifth Wave is another film that I am surprised was made: it is yet another unoriginal, cliché ridden teen movie with lots of shooting and running around but with a narrative so thin as to make a lettuce leaf look fat. Seriously, how do these films get made? Is there a building in LA full of producers with more money than sense who think they can just cash in on the Hunger Games and the Twilight Saga?

Teenagers (and the rest of us) deserve better than this! Why aren't they making the rest of the Northern Lights trilogy into a thumping good movie (with a different director from the first one: Golden Compass)? There's a good complex narrative that deserves some big screen CGI and which does not insult the intelligence of its audience! You can probably tell that I am not going to recommend you seeing The Fifth Wave, even when it is broadcast free on terrestrial TV...


(SPOILER ALERT) A Marxist analysis of the film would probably suggest that it is hark back to the films of the 1950s which were held to be reflections of cold war paranoia. In this movie, "The Others" could well be an allegory for Islamist Terrorists who 'look like us but are not like us', and seek to create child soldiers etc... That as maybe, the film is certainly about deception...

Should leaders ever deceive those that they wish to lead? Is it part of good leadership to dress up the truth a little and maybe put a good spin on things... I am sure that most people would stop short of actual lying but should leaders tell "the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth"? Can certain details be omitted for the sake of the bigger prize? Or do we do all of this naturally anyway?

What is the truth?

_____________________

Blog 147: in my 2014/15/16 series of blogs about leadership ideas to be found in the movies of our time. You can read here as why I began doing this (with an update at the end of 2014 and 2015). Please subscribe to this blog if you want to read more. Thanks. Click the label 'film' to see all the others.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Grubby Grandpa

Sometimes I wonder how some films get to be made. Dirty Grandpa is one of them. I can find lewd and crude humour as funny as the next person... but this film just wasn't that funny. There are a few wry and ribald moments but mostly it is stuffed full of tired clichés.

I had hoped that with the actors involved, there would be some insightful and moving redemption towards the end that would somehow counter balance the crude and 'groping for plausibility' storyline up until then. But nope. There was nothing to redeem this film. Mr De Niro and Mr Ephron must be laughing all the way to the bank. I rarely bother to read other people's crits of films I choose to see. This film has made me review that policy...


This film is in the classic genre of "should I or should I not marry this person?" films, where either the bride or groom to be goes on a 'journey' of discovery to come to one answer or another. Why it always has to take a journey to resolve such dilemmas is something I don't quite get, especially in this case. But I do think walking around with a dilemma helps.

Leaders do well to walk around lots. Not just because it gets them out and about, meeting people, hearing snippets of information that would probably not come their way by any other means... but because the act of walking, the rhythm, is good for the brain, I think. Dilemmas can be resolved in this way.

When was the last time you went for a walk at work?

_____________________

This is Blog 146 in my 2014/15/16 series of blogs about leadership ideas to be found in the movies of our time. You can read here as why I began doing this (with an update at the end of 2014 and 2015). Please subscribe to this blog if you want to read more. Thanks. Click the label 'film' to see all the others.

Brand confusion

I am sure that Our Brand is Crisis looked amazing on paper especially when the cast was added: how could it go wrong? Here was a story about the dark arts of political campaigning in the volatile arena of South America... it was bound to be compelling watching that would have audiences glued to their seats.

But in fact the story is a mess: confusing and distracting. You end up wondering just who are the real heroes and villains of the story. Perhaps it is no surprise when the subject matter can be so shaded and morally complex: what ends justify what means exactly? But it achieves one thing, I guess: if you were cynical about political campaigning before you saw this film, you will be afterwards.


A few days ago, I had lunch with my first client. We have stayed in touch for 27 years and get together once in a while for a catch up. When I was working on my first consultancy assignment with him, something went wrong (although I cannot remember what). But I do remember him saying that he considered that what had happened was an act of omission not commission. He forgave what had happened and we moved on. He saw no design or intent in what had occurred...

Leaders get things wrong and sometimes do wrong things. Knowing why these happen is critical: intent, capability and capacity all come to mind. Leaders can choose to play highly political games, but you have to know what you are doing and who else is playing similar games. As always it is a matter of degree and knowing how far to take such 'games'...

Are you a good political game player?

_____________________

This is Blog 145 in my 2014/15/16 series of blogs about leadership ideas to be found in the movies of our time. You can read here as why I began doing this (with an update at the end of 2014 and 2015). Please subscribe to this blog if you want to read more. Thanks. Click the label 'film' to see all the others.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

The Big Lie

The Big Short is a brilliant film that manages to convey the immoral madness of the financial system in a funky, funny and almost poetic way. Of course, many people in the UK still believe the recession that began in 2007/08 was the fault of the government in power. This film will show you otherwise. And what makes the film so clever is that even though you will probably still not get what CDOs and CDSs are, you will know what they meant.

But because the narrative is so compelling, because it's true (the scene with the realtors in Florida stands out for me), some of the acting could be overlooked. But don't... there are some extraordinary performances in this film. Go. See. Now.


Tempting though it is to write about leadership integrity and morality after watching this movie, I will instead write about gambling and leadership instead. (The film, indeed the whole financial system, is really just about gambling, I would contend.)

Do good leaders gamble? Of course they do: leadership is all about balancing risks, investments and pay-offs. It is all about judging just how far a course of action can be pushed to achieve the desired for result. But it is not random chance, of course. Famously, Gary Player said “The more I practice, the luckier I get.” Leadership is not about rolling a dice. But it is sometimes about gambling with an opportunity.

Do you feel lucky...? 

_____________________

This is Blog 144 in my 2014/15/16 series of blogs about leadership ideas to be found in the movies of our time. You can read here as why I began doing this (with an update at the end of 2014 and 2015). Please subscribe to this blog if you want to read more. Thanks. Click the label 'film' to see all the others.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Straight talking on being commissioned

This afternoon, I attended a Commissioning Academy organised by the Local Government Association to develop the skills of local councillors involved in buying services for their councils. My role was to be on a panel to give them some insight into what it feels like being commissioned (or procured). I thought I would share my opening pitch:
  • The more complicated and convoluted you make your procurement process, the more likely that you will end up hiring suppliers who are brilliant at completing forms and answering tricky questions. They may or may not be good at supplying what you want.
  • Remember that although your procurement process ends with selecting the 'best' supplier, this is only from the pool of those who could be bothered or had the time to enter the process in the first place. 
  • If commissioners put as much effort into listening to and engaging with the market place as goes into creating 156 page procurement specifications, the world of outsourced supply would be very, very different.
  • One of the biggest problems is that very few poachers become gamekeepers. Commissioners are often so darned commercially naive that taxpayers are losing out hook, line and sinker.
  • From my perspective, I am very unlikely to bother bidding for a piece of work if any of these conditions are present:
  • the time needed to bid is disproportionate to the work on offer
  • the specification of what is wanted is buried on page 86
  • the questions asked are so stupid that I cannot muster the energy to answer them
  • the questions are so impenetrable as to defy all the dictionaries and thesauruses in the world
  • the specification states that an essential ingredient of the service being procured - won't actually be paid for, but if you want to do it for free...
  • the existing supplier has a head start (for a whole number of reasons)
  • it's for a service where there will be dozens if not hundreds of bidders = too much of a lottery
  • the deadline date is yesterday (or some other equally ridiculous time scale)- the requirement is over specified and does not match the stated outcome desired
  • the supplier requirements are over specified (imo)- there is no scope for me to display my unique talents in the bidding process
  • Early market engagement means me having an opportunity to learn about the challenges facing commissioners and showcase my talents in helping to meet those challenges. Eg whole system working to prevent later problems & build robust ways of generating valuable social outcomes.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

You will appreciate your central heating far more, after this film

The Revenant is a fine film, exceptionally well made and directed. The cinematography, sound and gory make-up are all stupendous. The acting is determined, brave and clearly is 'award-worthy'. This is a good film, but it is not a great one... Frankly I think the story stretches credulity to the point where you are thinking "really... really...?!?!" And that is not good for a movie, especially one purporting to be like real life then, rather than the fantasy it must be.

I have mixed views as to whether Leo should win the Best Actor Oscar for this movie: along with the rest of the cast & crew, making this movie must have hurt... lots. (That water looked mighty cold!). But there is not much subtlety in this film and the journeys made are physical not psychological. But maybe it is his turn... finally?


Morality features large in this narrative and emerges in good (and bad) forms in some surprising places, given the brutal and raw context. Some people do some very right things while others do some very wrong ones.. And of course this comes from all quarters, and with echoes of Fitcarraldo, Little Big Man and Soldier Blue, is about the individuals not just the culture in which they were raised.

And so it is with leadership: there is only so much a leader can do to create a culture that is honest and moral. Beyond that individuals make choices. The role of the leader therefore is not only to set the context but also the structures for supporting those who act with integrity and hold those who do not, to account.

How are your moral structures holding up?

_____________________

This is Blog 143 in my 2014/15/16 series of blogs about leadership ideas to be found in the movies of our time. You can read here as why I began doing this (with an update at the end of 2014 and 2015). Please subscribe to this blog if you want to read more. Thanks. Click the label 'film' to see all the others.

Monday, 18 January 2016

Room without a view

Room is a grim and claustrophobic film that eventually leads you back into the sunlight. The acting is stunning, especially by the child star. His performance is so natural that he will take your breath away. At nine years old he already has an impressive filmography: watch this boy carefully.

This must have been a most difficult story to film: logistically and psychologically. But it is done with panache and close attention to the editing. Whilst a depressing subject, very loosely based on real life events of course, this film manages to make you believe in the unbeatable spirit of people: in this case a young mother and her child. They are the true subjects of this film, not the crime that imprisoned them. A difficult but must see movie.


Almost all management texts emphasise the importance of making plans. And in this film, plans are made. What is striking in real life, as in this film, even 3/4 baked plans are better than no plan. Sometimes the effort that goes into creating plans is disproportionate to the plan and aim in question.

Often, as a leader, the most important thing to be done is simply to point in the right direction. That in itself can be all the plan that is needed. But knowing where to point is the trick...

How is your inner leadership compass doing?

_____________________

This is Blog 142 in my 2014/15/16 series of blogs about leadership ideas to be found in the movies of our time. You can read here as why I began doing this (with an update at the end of 2014 and 2015). Please subscribe to this blog if you want to read more. Thanks. Click the label 'film' to see all the others.

Monday, 11 January 2016

Multiplying Dads

Daddy's Home is a jolly romp of a silly movie but with some deeper undertones about what it really means to be a father and (speaking personally) the tricky challenges of being a step dad. There are some superlative comedic moments including the brilliant fall by the cheerleader (who deserves an Oscar just for that 2 second scene) and the terrifically congnizant product placement 'ad' towards the end of the film: inspired

It is easy to be picky about movies like this (would the mother react in quite the way she did?) and whether such a story could ever happen in real life etc but that doesn't matter one jot. This is a silly film and go with that in mind and you will probably laugh out loud like me.


There is a delightful part of the narrative around conflict resolution with an interesting and novel approach being taken during the movie: which will make you smile. Leaders need to be brilliant at conflict resolution because where ever there are people, there will be conflict.

What is your approach to resolving conflict? Are you fixed on one approach or do you have a range of approaches depending on the issue being confronted? How do you assess which approach to use?

How flexible and appropriate is your approach to conflict resolution?

_____________________

This is Blog 141 in my 2014/15/16 series of blogs about leadership ideas to be found in the movies of our time. You can read here as why I began doing this (with an update at the end of 2014 and 2015). Please subscribe to this blog if you want to read more. Thanks. Click the label 'film' to see all the others.

Friday, 8 January 2016

Joyous

Every now and then, I see a film that stands out from the crowd. Joy is one of those films. You must see this one! The dialogue is delicious, the narrative is quirky and alluring, and the acting is just so slick and effortless. Jennifer Lawrence is in her element: a true dramatic force. Just superb!

This film will make you smile, laugh, cry and (if you are anything like me) punch the air with elation, several times. This is a most uplifting film that has created a magical mix of characters and events that will stay with you for long time. I repeat, go and see this movie, now!



This film is an object lesson in leadership and the value of total, iron clad determination to succeed. Joy, just, never, gives, up. She is beset with hurdles 10m high yet manages to overcome them... The question is how, and how do you develop such determination? Or is such determination something you are either born with or not?

I think we are all born with a strong determination to succeed: to survive (and more) often against the odds. And all our lives are filled with obstacles: some far more than others of course. Leaders are good at carrying on carrying on. Arguably that is what defines a leader. But I think the question is really not who has determination to succeed (we all do) but where and by how much we choose to deploy it...

Where are you deploying your desire to succeed?

_____________________

This is Blog 140 in my 2014/15/16 series of blogs about leadership ideas to be found in the movies of our time. You can read here as why I began doing this (with an update at the end of 2014 and 2015). Please subscribe to this blog if you want to read more. Thanks. Click the label 'film' to see all the others.

Monday, 4 January 2016

Truth stranger than fiction

The Danish Girl is an amazing film that will, if you let it, leave you thinking about the nature of gender, sexuality, love, loyalty and sanity. The acting is nothing short of stupendous. Arguably, Alicia Vikander has the tougher part to play and does it finely.

I found the film crept up on me, burrowing away against any preconceptions of what it means to be a woman, or indeed a man. And, as i have said before, the unsung heroes of modern day films are the costumers and make-up artists who excelled themselves with this movie. I hope they are, at the very least, honourably mentioned at the Oscars in a few weeks time. Go see this movie!


After watching the film, I researched the background a little more and found the true story to be even more incredible than the one depicted on screen: try looking for it yourself. Which, of course, is just a small example of the information at our fingertips these days.

And this is true of all leadership now: information, comment, insights, alternative views are as easily available to leaders as they are to those whom the leader is seeking to lead. Once upon a time, information was power but that is less so now. Leaders have to be more than that which can simply be searched.

How has your leadership had to change in an era of social media and easy research?

_____________________

This is Blog 139 in my 2014/15/16 series of blogs about leadership ideas to be found in the movies of our time. You can read here as why I began doing this (with an update at the end of 2014 and 2015). Please subscribe to this blog if you want to read more. Thanks. Click the label 'film' to see all the others.

Saturday, 2 January 2016

In the heart of the sea?

In the Heart of the Sea is stunning and compelling film with an engrossing narrative and stunning special effects. It is finely acted and directed but... it just didn't engage my heart. Somehow, it did not really bother me whether the characters survived or not... The only sentient being I had any connection with was the whale...

And I am really not sure precisely why except perhaps it was difficult for me to feel anything but loathing for people who spent their lives killing whales. Yes it was historic and evidently then (so we are told) an economic necessity but the idea of destroying these huge and intelligent beasts of the sea is not one I can warm to... But the film is good and if the whale hunting is less emotive for you, you will probably enjoy and engage with this movie in a way that I could not.


There is a moment in the film where one character is challenged to tell the truth as being the only true mark of his leadership and indeed honour. In the story there are also compelling reasons to twist the truth somewhat...

In a courtroom, witnesses swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Can a leader be a true leader with integrity and then not follow this same code? Are there ever any good and expedient reasons to tell less than the whole truth? I think there are, but they are finely judged: there are times when less than the whole truth needs to be told. Integrity comes from knowing what the limits are.

When did you last tell less than 100% of the truth?

_____________________

This is Blog 138 in my 2014/15/16 series of blogs about leadership ideas to be found in the movies of our time. You can read here as why I began doing this (with an update at the end of 2014 and 2015). Please subscribe to this blog if you want to read more. Thanks. Click the label 'film' to see all the others.

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Unlimited movies: into my third year

Christmas 2013, my lovely wife gave me a year's unlimited movie going to Cineworld. Since renewing my card at the end of 2014, I have seen 137 movies.

After each film I write a two paragraph review of film followed by two paragraphs on the leadership theme hiding between the frames of the movie. And I have done this with every film I have seen at the cinema (but not the ones on TV: because that would be too silly/much!)

I have just renewed it for my third year so I have all of 2016 to look forward too: lots of great movies coming out soon. The Danish Girl will probably be the next one I see.

So to note this milestone, I thought I would list all the closing leadership questions from my #filmsinleadership blogs of 2015. You can find the original blog by clicking on each question.

Happy New Year!
  1. Who are your nearby leaders that help you?
  2. Who are you?
  3. What 'what if' plans have you made?
  4. Where do you draw the line?
  5. When did you last raise a smile or an eyebrow among your followers?
  6. How do you balance which is the more right action, of a set of possible options?
  7. How do you approach the challenge of helping someone discover their 'superhero' inside?
  8. As a leader, what was your last truly altruistic act?
  9. What are you waiting for right now?
  10. How can you help people let go of hoped for futures?
  11. How do you continue to demonstrate to those who look to you for leadership, that they can trust you?
  12. What conjuring tricks have you done as a leader?
  13. What are the tricks that some people use to make it appear they function well as a leader when in fact they don't....?
  14. What is your centre of gravity?
  15. What have you done today to sustain the trust that people have in you?
  16. How good are you at divining your own sources of passion?
  17. When did you last defend the integrity of your organisation?
  18. How do you know when to quit or when to persist?
  19. How well do you balance the head and heart of your leadership?
  20. How Chinese is your leadership?
  21. How is your faculty for judgement these days?
  22. As a leader, how much fear do you inspire... (even without necessarily wishing to)?
  23. Honestly... how are you doing?
  24. As a leader, how do you express your dreams?
  25. As a leader, how are you choreographic and music production skills? Do you lead a choir or a cacophony?
  26. What is your ethical framework?
  27. How are you developing your EQ?
  28. How will you know when it is right time to go?
  29. How good are you at sharing?
  30. When are you going away next?
  31. How far do you push it?
  32. When did you last quit? Why?
  33. How is your pacesetting?
  34. How good a talent spotter are you?
  35. What is the next old idea to be refreshed?
  36. Can you command that level of trust?
  37. How have you helped people learn from each other?
  38. What do you know to be right?
  39. What were the ethics in your last decision?
  40. Have you got a coach?
  41. How well do you harness your emotions in pursuit of good decision making?
  42. How good are you at managing your fear?
  43. How are you making your leadership work in this contractual environment?
  44. What was your last badge for?
  45. What aspect of Malala can you emulate?
  46. How do you go about spotting undiscovered talent and helping people unfurl this?
  47. Are you hooked?
  48. Do you count yourself as a strategist?
  49. As a leader, what is your fuel, your purpose?
  50. How good are you at framing, timing and asking questions?
  51. How well do you manage not knowing many things?
  52. What are you contributing?
  53. When did you last ask yourself those sort of questions?
  54. Are you a patient leader?
  55. When can you let go?
  56. What does it take to be a good talent spotter?

Homage to the Stars

Star Wars: The Force Awakens was all that I hoped for and more. There were multiple moments when I was bathed in blissful nostalgia, grinning from ear to ear like an idiot! It is nearly 30 years since I saw the original, but it is like it was yesterday. I was back to being a teenager again. Thank you, everyone who was involved in the making of this film!

I have heard on the grapevine, that one of my readership thinks I give too much away about the movies I review (although I think I am scrupulous in not writing any spoilers...) So suffice to say: all the old and new characters are just brilliant and I now want my own BB-8. Go, go, go and go see this movie!!


Talent spotting and people development feature quite a lot in this movie: recognising employees who either have or do not have the 'force' is a key skill for all leaders, especially spotting those who are at risk of going over to the dark side...

As we know, some of the best and most celebrated leaders are the ones who have a talent for spotting and developing talent. Good leaders not only assemble & develop good teams, but also are great at finding managers who can do so with their teams too.

What does it take to be a good talent spotter?

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This is Blog 137 in my 2014/2015 series of blogs about leadership ideas to be found in the movies of our time. You can read here as why I began doing this (with an update at the end of 2014). Please subscribe to this blog if you want to read more. Thanks. Click the label 'film' to see all the others.

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Sisters Are Doin' It For Themselves

Sisters is a great movie: lewd, rude, sometimes poignant and very funny. Yes it is corny and some of the humour is a bit stretched but it will have you giggling. And be sure to watch the closing credits which include some funny out-takes.

The two leads ably demonstrate their comedic skill and are well supported by a good range of other actors. I especially liked the drug dealer and the parents: all have some very good lines. So a great laugh out loud movie. Will be hot sell on DVD too.


Part of the comedic narrative hinges on one of the sisters agreeing to be the 'Party Mom': ie staying sober and in control of the festivities, able to exert authority / leadership should the need arise. So do leaders always have to be in control of themselves (and others)? Or are there times when a leader can let their hair down and be off duty, as it were? Can a leader choose not to be the leader?

My answer is probably not. Leaders once recognised are always being judged. In this sense, the leader is always the 'Party Mom' whether they want to be or not. The art of good leadership, is still having a good time!

When can you let go?

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This is Blog 136 in my 2014/2015 series of blogs about leadership ideas to be found in the movies of our time. You can read here as why I began doing this (with an update at the end of 2014). Please subscribe to this blog if you want to read more. Thanks. Click the label 'film' to see all the others.

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Patience

I have been eagerly anticipating Carol for quite a while: the trailer was engrossing and the crits fully starred. But every now and then a film comes along that seems to attract glorious reviews but leaves me unmoved. Don't get me wrong: this is a good movie with some very fine acting. But it is not a great movie.

I would probably award Oscars for the costumes, makeup and sets: all brilliantly crafted to transport us back into the 1950s. The acting is subtle and textured. But the narrative is tedious, slow and unexciting. Maybe it is all symbolic and that is what lesbian relationships were like in the 1950s (although I doubt it!) And the narrative turning point in the movie was inexplicable. So perhaps I will have to see it again to try and understand what everyone has been raving about. Or maybe not...


Leadership takes patience (something I didn't have it with this movie - although the characters displayed endless amounts of it...) Patience is not just waiting for the sake of it: it is active waiting, waiting for the right moment. Patience requires acute awareness of all the factors that can influence when is the right time to act and when it is not.

Someone said to me the other day that animals (especially those likely to attacked) are never fully relaxed: they are always in a state of active awareness, ready to flee or fight at any given moment. It struck me that leaders are often like this, patiently waiting for the right time to make a decision, take an action. (Although leaders do need to relax sometimes.)

Are you a patient leader?

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This is Blog 135 in my 2014/2015 series of blogs about leadership ideas to be found in the movies of our time. You can read here as why I began doing this (with an update at the end of 2014). Please subscribe to this blog if you want to read more. Thanks. Click the label 'film' to see all the others.