Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Brand confusion

I am sure that Our Brand is Crisis looked amazing on paper especially when the cast was added: how could it go wrong? Here was a story about the dark arts of political campaigning in the volatile arena of South America... it was bound to be compelling watching that would have audiences glued to their seats.

But in fact the story is a mess: confusing and distracting. You end up wondering just who are the real heroes and villains of the story. Perhaps it is no surprise when the subject matter can be so shaded and morally complex: what ends justify what means exactly? But it achieves one thing, I guess: if you were cynical about political campaigning before you saw this film, you will be afterwards.

A few days ago, I had lunch with my first client. We have stayed in touch for 27 years and get together once in a while for a catch up. When I was working on my first consultancy assignment with him, something went wrong (although I cannot remember what). But I do remember him saying that he considered that what had happened was an act of omission not commission. He forgave what had happened and we moved on. He saw no design or intent in what had occurred...

Leaders get things wrong and sometimes do wrong things. Knowing why these happen is critical: intent, capability and capacity all come to mind. Leaders can choose to play highly political games, but you have to know what you are doing and who else is playing similar games. As always it is a matter of degree and knowing how far to take such 'games'...

Are you a good political game player?


This is Blog 145 in my 2014/15/16 series of blogs about leadership ideas to be found in the movies of our time. You can read here as why I began doing this (with an update at the end of 2014 and 2015). 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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