Thursday, 22 December 2011

New Years Eve: just schmaltz or something deeper?

The first film I saw last night was New Year's Eve. It is a lot (a lot..) better than the comparable film Valentine's Day which was panned a while back. But I can be more positive than that! NYE was a warm pastiche of some delightful moments (especially the speech by the Tess Byrne character) and although very predictable in the main - sometimes predictable is good. But I am an old romantic who can happily watch Love Actually if I stumble across it on ITV4.

But back to the theme of this blog - leadership and change (etc) - are there any lessons for leaders in this film? (I have the beginning of a plan to watch movies in 2012 and critique them from a leadership and organisation development viewpoint... watch this space - and see previous post as well)

I think the film is ultimately about keeping your promises. I don't want to spoil the movie for you - but I would argue that this is a theme which underpins nearly all of the vignettes on show. Whilst the consequences of breaking a promise here or there are shown, the story centres on several characters moving heaven and earth (and eating some very humble pie) to fulfil a promise that they made.

As leaders, we must keep our promises. If we think we will not be able to keep a promise then I would say we should not make it. A long time ago, I worked for a firm which had a very clear set of value statements. One of these was 'do as you say you are going to do'. That has stuck with me every since. It is a principle that guides me.

Good leaders keep their promises. 

Of course people do break their promises and explain why it was necessary. But observers know. We know when an explanation is just a rationalisation. (And we do know when the explanation is authentic too.)

As leaders, we know when we keep our promises. But how do we distinguish an authentic explanation from a rationalisation when we may be driven to break a promise?

How do you know when to make a promise.. and when you must break it? 

No comments:

Post a Comment