Wednesday, December 17, 2008

It’s a Wonderful Leadership Movie!


One of our family holiday traditions is to watch the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” together. It’s always been one of my favorites, as well as one of my top 20 Leadership movies.

The lessons from this movie really resonate with me. It’s only been within the last few years that I’ve truly understood my role as a leader. When I defined my own top 12 “leadership rules” , the #1 rule on my list was:
I must fully appreciate and embrace the awesome responsible that comes with being a leader and never take it lightly. I’m responsible for the success of the unit I lead, and contribute to the success of my company. I have a huge impact on the success and lives of my employees. I also have an indirect impact on the community in which I’m a part of, and that my employees are a part of. So if I screw up, it’s not just me that impacted, I’m messing with the lives of others that are depending on me.
This “rule” also gives me purpose for my work – to help others become great leaders.

George Bailey had to almost kill himself and be rescued by an angel before he understood what an impact he had on his family, friends, neighbors, and the community in which he lived.

As a leader, we face those opportunities to make small and large differences in the lives of those around us on a regular basis. Every time we:
- Hire
- Fire
- Coach
- Give feedback
- Develop
- Motivate
- Inspire

We have the privilege of being able to help someone who’s depending on us to be extraordinary. That success (or lack of) could have a far reaching ripple effect that we may never see. George didn’t see it – until it was almost too late.

Footnote: After I wrote the first draft of this, I did a quick Google search using the movie title and “leadership”. I wasn’t shocked to discover I wasn’t the first to make a connection to IAWL and leadership.

There’s even a training program that was developed that uses IAWL to teach the concept of servant leadership. You can buy it for only $795! And, in the tradition of training overkill that our employees and managers have grown to love us for, it comes with a 43 page facilitator guide.

43 pages of instructions on how to watch a movie. OMG.

I’ll tell you what – I’ll save you $795 and four hours of your life:
1. Buy the DVD for $13.99
2. Or watch the last nine minutes for free here
3. Think about it
4. Key learning points: Be thankful for what you have. Make a difference in the lives of others.

And this from Clarence the angel: “One man's life touches so many others, when he's not there it leaves an awfully big hole.”

5 comments:

CherryPie said...

That sounds like a good tip to me :-)

Wally Bock said...

Here's the money quote for me, Dan. " We have the privilege of being able to help someone who’s depending on us to be extraordinary." Isn't that what leadership is all about?

Dan McCarthy said...

Thanks, Wally.To me it is.

Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster, LAPD (ret.), MPA said...

Excellent post - A person who doesn't recognize the special committment they make when they take a leadership posistion likely isn't living up to their own leadership potential.

Dan McCarthy said...

well said, Raymond.