Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Leadership, Power & Influence (Part 3): Brubaker

BrubakerIf you have not seen Brubaker, check out the trailer. Even a one minute account of the movie is sufficient to understand why it was chosen for our Leadership, Power and Influence course (also see Part I to learn how much stress I went through in that course and Part II for a music lesson in corporate management):

Robert Redford in the role of the new prison superintendent is trying to turn the place around doing virtually everything to destroy his personal power base and violating the most important rule, "Try not to make unnecessary enemies". Could Brubaker achieve more if he were more compromising? I don't know, but here are my key learnings from the movie:

  • think what's right for all involved, not just for you or an abstract sense of justice;
  • you can only change the system once you are in it;
  • you can easily alienate your friends as well;
  • if you keep doing same things, you'll continue getting same results (a variation of Eistein's take on insanity);
  • respect is earned, not granted;
  • change requires a lot of work and a high diversity of means: the process is painful and disagreeable;
  • some SOBs will never respect you no matter what.
One thing that that does not sit well with me is that at Brubaker is portrayed as a hero, but what did he manage to achieve? How many people has he killed? What is going to happen now? He failed as a diplomat. He missed his chance to make others lives better. He will surely never be allowed near the prison management system again (only as a convict maybe). I don't buy this Hollywood interpretation.

I'm not sure if I have convinced you yet to (re-)watch Brubaker, but it's a great learning material to get your brain going on the matters of how you influence others to get the results you want.

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