Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Disturbing dystopia

I know many people just don't get science fiction: how can something so unreal have anything worthwhile to say? On the other hand, I would say that SciFi allows for hypotheses to be tested and (more critically) current trends to be extrapolated. In this sense, SciFi movies are history in reverse. Just as people who forget the past are condemned to repeat it, people who 'forget' the future are condemned to enter it...

The Purge: Anarchy is probably one of the most discomforting films I have seen in a long while. If you look past the bloody violence, you will see a violence of an even greater kind (I will let you find out what). The message that this is where America is heading unless it sorts out its gun worship / crime is imparted with as much subtlety as a machete. Nonetheless, the story (within the hopefully implausible future) is plausible (just) and the acting workaday convincing. Mix Rollerball, 1900 and Grand Theft Auto and you are about there. Go with gritted teeth and something to grip...

Timing is everything in leadership. It is about knowing when to act, when to pause, when to run (as in away from people brandishing machetes!) The film is full of such moments when the leader/hero stops, collects his breath, thinks and coolly decides what to do next. As the audience, we are doing the same: what would we do now?

Pausing is one of the most powerful leadership traits. I know we are sometimes lured into admiring and therefore seeking to emulate the 'snap decision makers', the leaders who can 'make things up as they go along' and 'think on their feet'. But good leaders only do this when the situation demands: pausing not only allows more time to consider options, it also means that others are more engaged as well.

When did you last pause publicly?


This is the forty first of my 2014 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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