Wednesday, 8 January 2014

The Ron Burgundy approach to innovation

It would be very easy to dismiss Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues as a schlock & corny comedy which employs its 1980 setting to excuse some sexist and racist humour as ironically funny. But many of the anarchic threads can be traced back to Mad, Python and Rowan & Martin's Laugh In. There is a good pedigree here. The film made me laugh and cringe in almost equal measure.

But actually what I think the film is really about: the necessity for courageous innovation. There is the oft quoted phrase: if you're in a hole, stop digging. In this film, this command is turned on its head and says: keep digging because you never know what you might unearth!

So it is a film about letting go of convention, weighing anchor(mans) and embarking on a voyage of creative discovery. It is a story which is based on the idea that innovation inspiration can arise from desperation, exasperation and perspiration!

As a leader, how often do you put yourself in a situation where you simply have to come up with something new that could be about saving your business, or just be about making that improvement that really needs to be made? Do you put yourself under pressure so that you have to innovate? Or do you procrastinate since innovation is something to be done… tomorrow.

And, as a leader, how do you create these same conditions for those whom you lead? Can you ‘steam cook’ your team without over cooking them? How do you find just the right temperature that will produce al dente innovation and not a splodgey mess of exhausted, angry and demotivated staff?

In an odd way, does Ron Burgundy have something important to say about the leadership of innovation? Watch the film and let me know what you think. 


This is the fifth of my new series of blogs about leadership ideas to be found in the movies of our time. You can read here as why I am doing this. Please subscribe to this blog if you want to read more. Thanks. Click the label 'film' to see all the others.

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