Friday, 18 July 2014

Planet of Trust

The story of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes pivots on trust: can two tribes (humans and apes) learn to trust each other enough to prevent war... or not. Anyone who knows the whole story (and I can still remember the moment when Charlton Heston rides along the beach - which I saw more than 45 years ago), will know which way the story goes. Nonetheless, the narrative is gripping and leaves you pondering on the real conflicts of the world.

Of course, you can simply be amazed by the quality of the special effects and the digital make-up worn by the apes: it is breathtaking. Andy Serkis probably won't but would deserve an Oscar for his portrayal of Caesar. And this is a spectacular film with excellent cinematography. It won't be everyone's cup of tea. But it is a very worthy film.

Some leaders appear to think that trust is like a tap that can be turned on or off. Whereas in truth, I think, trust is something as fragile as butterfly's wing, is earned by (not to be expected as a result of) assiduous and ethically consistent behaviour, and exists in the minds of those who trust.

It has been my experience that most people want to trust their leaders and look for opportunities to do so. Which means, I think, that most people are reasonably forgiving when a leader takes a decision that appears at odds with wider plans. But there are decisions from which there is no going back and trust if not destroyed forever, is lost for a very long time. The art of being a good leader is knowing when you are at risk of crossing the line and making one of those latter decisions. It is then a question of finding another path (or not of course).

What have you done recently that might have come close to that line? 


This is the thirty ninth 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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