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Leadership Lessons From Movies

Toward the beginning of Joseph Lalonde’s book, Reel Leadership, he shares, “We’re going to delve into the leaderships lessons we can find in movies. We’re going to discover that movies are a fantastic way to learn, grow, and engross yourself in leadership. So, sit back; get ready. We’re going to dive into some reel leadership.” 

You are going to enjoy the journey Lalonde takes you on, by first setting the stage as he chronicles the history of film, the history of leadership, and the science of learning, and then while he shares some of the best leadership lessons from his vast catalogue of movie watching through the years. 

“I want to encourage you to think of movies as visual fables. They are telling stories that move the mind, body, and soul. They can touch you emotionally, spiritually, and even physically. There is power in movies,” says Lalonde. 

Toward the book’s end, Lalonde provides the framework for a five-step process of gaining leadership insights from the movies. “It will change the way you and your team views movies for the rest of your lives,” says Lalonde. 

I agree with Nathan Magnuson who reviewed the book and said, “I don’t think I’ll ever watch a movie the same way again. In addition to viewing for entertainment value, I’ll be asking myself what I can learn, how I would handle the situations in the story, and how I can be a better leader in my own reality.” 

And, in fact, after reading, Reel Leadership, you may now also want to watch again some of your favorite movies with a keen eye toward discovering the leadership lessons you’ll glean from your new perspective viewing. 

 


Joseph Lalonde

Earlier this year, Lalonde shared these insights with us: 

Question: What are your one or two favorite leadership quotes from movies? 

Lalonde: It's always challenging to pick a favorite quote or movie. I'm going to provide three quotes that mean a lot to me and have helped me understand myself and leadership better. The first is by Director Dewey in, Jason Bourne. Dewey said, "You’re never going to find peace until you admit who you really are." So many of us are discontent because we don't know who we really are. 

Another great quote is "All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to you." by Gandalf in, Lord Of The Rings. It's a challenging quote because we don't know how much time we have left. However, if we begin making decisions, we can make the most of our time. 

The last quote I want to share is "I'll be back." by the Terminator in the, Terminator, movie. This is such an iconic line and has proven to be true for the character. What would happen if, as leaders, we continue to show up and return? 

Question: What is the most inspiring leadership lesson you've learned from a movie? 

Lalonde: I want to go with something different here. I want to go back to the movie, We Bought A Zoo. In it, Benjamin Mee made a crazy decision. He and his children bought a zoo. Throughout the movie, Mee talked about needing 20 seconds of insane courage to do something amazing. I think we could take his lesson to heart and begin working through our issues in 20 seconds of courage at a time. 

Question: What is your favorite movie of all time and why is it your favorite? 

Lalonde: Once again, it's so hard to choose a favorite movie. I have such a love for Star WarsDie Hard, and other movies. I often cite those as favorite movies. I think favorites ebb and flow as we age. It also depends on the type of mood I'm in. One movie that has really stuck with me is, Baby Driver. The cinematography was stunning. The music was top-notch. The story was engaging and entertaining. Let's go with, Baby Driver, for this one. 

Question: In addition to your love of movies you have a passion for running. What leadership lessons have you learned from running? 

Lalonde: Yes, running is definitely a passion of mine. I've been running for years after hearing Kevin Miller discuss his passion for running on his now defunct podcast Free Agent Academy. There are so many lessons that I have learned from running. Here are three of them: 

Keep putting one foot in front of the other. This is how you make progress. 

Stop comparing yourself to others. I found myself struggling to run because I compared myself to others. When I let go of that, I found myself enjoying running so much more. The same goes for leadership. Stop comparing yourself to your past leaders or leaders you respect. You're running your own race.

Have a finish line in mind. For every race you run, there's a finish line. Knowing and seeing your finish line not only gives you an ending point, but also it can encourage you to push harder, faster, and with more intensity than you had been running with. 

BONUS: Lead for a cause. I run with Team World Vision to raise money for clean water for those who lack access to it. This consistently gives me a reason to lace up my shoes and run. Without this cause or reason to run, I would run a lot less. 

In fact, I'm running the Metro Health Grand Rapids Half Marathon in October to continue the efforts of bringing clean water to those in need. I move my feet for those who need it. The same goes for your leadership. When you have a cause or a reason, you find the energy and desire to keep moving forward. 

Question: What is the next leadership book you plan to read? 

Lalonde: I just finished a great book called, Thursday Is The New Friday, by Joe Sanok. It helps us understand the changing ways of doing work. It was also interesting to hear how our workweeks came to be. 

I'm currently reading, What The Heck Is EOS, by Gino Wickman and Tom Bouwer. Our leadership team at work is going through this book to help everyone align. 

The book I plan on reading or, probably more correctly, listen to is, Hero On A Mission, by Donald Miller. I loved his memoirs, Blue Like Jazz and A Million Miles In A Thousand Years. I thought, Building A Story Brand, was a valuable business tool. And now he has, Hero On A Mission. It's on my to-read/listen list! 

___

Finally, discover some of the best leadership lessons from a vast variety of movies by reading Reel Leadership, delivered by Lalonde in a conversational style as though you are his best friend with a shared passion for movies and learning about leadership. 

Learn more from Lalonde via his website where he helps to empower leaders with the tools to thrive in a hectic world.

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