Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Rise of the Expectations

By gaelipani0 on Pixabay
I watched 300: Rise of an Empire the other night. In case you're not aware, it's the sequel to 300, a bloodbath gory fight-fest pitting 300 Spartans against the Persian empire of Xerxes. So, aside from the gratuitous violence which was to be expected, the sequel had a few other notable moments. First, it served, much as the first movie did, as a reminder that I need to do a little more abdominal work. After this post I think I will go do twelve crunches. That should get me started. Second, I thought "War Pigs" by Black Sabbath was an interesting choice for outro music. Finally, I thought the CGI blood spatter truly outdid the first movie in terms of overall gushers in slow-motion, so if that's what you expected, go watch this movie.

And then I remembered this is not a movie-reviewing blog, so here's the actual corollary that I drew to write a post as a response to watching this movie.

Artemesia, who I might call the primary antagonist in the film, struggles with looking for a solid second in command. It is a subplot that stretches for at least a good third of the film and interplays with the main plot. Two things emerge out of this search for a second that parallel quite well with business and work.

The first is just the need of someone in a leadership position to have someone that they can trust. It is the reason that new CEOs to companies generally come with at least a small slate of executives, whether the existing ones were good or not. Everyone needs someone that they can trust to give them the truth, and someone that they can trust to get things done when they need them to. Leaders need a committed tribe who subscribes to their leadership.

The second thing that stood out, though, was the willingness of people to step up, trying to jump into that second in command spot, and making outrageous promises in order to get there. Look, I get it, it's a movie, but the point is that various individuals were gaining authority based on completely hollow and empty promises of quick victory. What if a Vice President of Sales was given the position based solely on a promise that he or she could quintuple sales of a company in a month? These candidates made similarly ridiculous claims, and I am certain you can guess their results.

Sometimes, when a leader says, "I need victory in a day," the truly strong second in command will advise pragmatically, that immediate victory may not be attainable, but a sustained strategy will get them where they want to be. And a true leader will listen.