Monday, 3 March 2014

Worthy winners: Dallas Buyers Club

I have woken to the news that Matthew McConaughey & Jared Leto have won the Oscars for Best Actor and Supporting Actor for their parts in the Dallas Buyers Club. I saw this movie a few days ago and privately predicted a win for Mr McConaughey and I am delighted that his colleague has picked up an Oscar too. The central character begins the film as a dishonest, womanising, drug taking, alcohol abusing homophobic cowboy. What makes Mr McConaughey's performance so electrifying is that you are made to love this man with all of his faults and frailities. Equally, Jared Leto is a pitch perfect blend of strength, weakness, despair, humour, vulnerability and defiance in the face of raging HIV.

If you have not already guessed so, I rate this film very highly. In the mid 80's I was involved professionally in tackling AIDS and HIV and well remember the hate, the bigotry and the fear that the infection provoked (which was not helped by the frankly daft government TV advertising campaign in the UK at the time). This film captures that era well and remains relevant to this day (not least the role of the pharmaceutical industry). Go see it if you have not already done so.

For me, the core leadership theme underlying this movie is about not giving up: even when all the odds are against you. I know this is something of a corny leadership theme, probably starting with Robert the Bruce watching a spider, but please indulge me. The idea of the tenacious leader that fights to the bitter end is an alluring legend but one which I think is misunderstood.

There are plenty of leaders who never gave up and still failed. Their stories tend to be forgotten while the successes are remembered and so the analysis is often short on logic.

What I think marks out the character in Dallas Buyers Club is his capacity to keep on keeping on and be light of foot. Good leaders are tenacious (yes) but not blinkered: they remain adaptable. This is the ingredient in robust leadership that is often overlooked.

So are you carrying on regardless or are you adapting your game?


This is the sixteenth 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.

No comments:

Post a Comment