Inspiring to lead: The Greatest Showman
It is not often that I watch a movie and return wanting to talk about it to everyone I meet on the street. However, now that I have seen The Greatest Showman, I am going to talk about it in every forum that I can. Why? Obviously because I thoroughly enjoyed the experience like no other. I know we have too many posts on ‘X things we can learn from <Insert movie name/political incident/any random event>’. Here is my addition to the list. Only because the movie truly inspires.
Haven’t seen it yet? Go watch it. Seen it? Well, then you will be able to relate to all that follows.
1. Celebrate Diversity
P.T. Barnum: No one ever made a difference by being like everyone else.
Don’t just be inclusive and make a mundane pitch on how diversity will make your organization successful. We’ve heard that exact pitch too many times now. Maybe it is time to try a different approach?
Barnum hunted for differences and capitalized on them - very similar to what we are attempting to do in organizations today. The ultimate aim is to achieve diversity of thought. The means are hiring more women, Asians and others. Too often organizations chase people who think alike; those referred to as are a great ‘culture fit’. However, often the misfits show you that you’ve been wrong all along, that what got you on top, won’t keep you there. Stop looking for clones, hunt for the unique ones and give them a platform. Just be careful to not overdo it else, you’d be flooded with discrimination suits.
This isn’t just for organizations but it holds true for you too. What different circles converge in your social group? How often do you interact with people who challenge everything that you believe in? How much richer did you leave those conversations? We make the same mistakes that organizations do. After all, organizations are just an amalgamation of people, likely to make the same mistakes that people do.
Honestly, when it came to celebrating differences, no one did it like Barnum.
2. Take risks
Phillip Carlyle: You’re risking everything you’ve built.
P.T. Barnum: Well how do you think I built it?
This one isn’t for your organization. It is for you. I know I’ve said it before and I am going to repeat it for as long as I deem necessary. I am not asking you to quit your job and chase after your dreams of becoming a rockstar. That is loopy advice. The risks I am talking about are ones that stop you from taking safer chances – move to a different location, change careers if it makes you unhappy, quit the job that sucks your soul out (after you’ve found a new one) or just join a risky startup. Higher the risks, higher the returns. That is the golden rule. Some risks however don’t pay, but you’ll never know if you never try. Whatever the risk, it’ll definitely leave you richer in life experiences.
And if you take risks, rewinding to the bit where organization are but amalgamations of people, the organization as a whole becomes more risk-friendly. It tends to be more successful in keeping its eyes open, detecting and maneuvering itself out of oblivion.
3. All the world’s a stage
Anne Wheeler: And what is your act?
Phillip Carlyle: I don’t have an act.
Anne Wheeler: Everyone’s got an act.
A big part of everything a person or an organization does is marketing. There are entire teams that revolve around brand management, yet when it comes to us, just how much time do we invest in marketing ourselves? Do you invest as much time in creating and selling the brand that is ‘you’ as much as organizations do? If not, why? Let 2018 be the year that you finally figure out your act and become a pro at managing your own brand.
We often watch movies for entertainment but every so often, they serve as an entertaining mechanism of sharing important life lessons. If they share lessons that help you become a pro at work, even better. So which of the three are you going to focus on this year? I’d say pick all.