Invictus: A Leadership Case Study for Years to Come
So one of the wonderful things (for me at least) about the end of year holidays is the opportunity to see a lot of first run movies. This year I saw Avatar (terrific 3D cinematography, weak script), Up in the Air (brilliant rendition of soulless business travel) and Invictus which is the subject of this post.
In case you're not familiar with it, Invictus is director Clint Eastwood's portrayal of Nelson Mandela's first days as president of post-apartheid South Africa and how Mandela used the historically hapless South African Springboks rugby team to bring the country together. When he took office in 1994, Mandela recognized that the Springboks were the passion of white South Africans while black South Africans would cheer for whatever team was playing against the Springboks. As it happened, the 1995 Rugby World Cup was scheduled to take place in South Africa. Embodied by the slogan, "One Team, One Country," Mandela set the goal of the Springboks winning the World Cup. With Morgan Freeman as Mandela and Matt Damon as Springboks team captain, Francois Pinnear, this trailer provides a nice overview of the movie.
If you're a leader or are someone who is working to develop leaders (the two are not mutually exclusive by the way), you have to see this movie. When it comes out on DVD, you have to buy it and then promise yourself you're going to watch it again at least 2 or 3 times a year. It is simply one of the best case studies I've ever seen of how a transformative leader practices his craft. I wish I had taken notes when I saw it, but here's a quick list of some of the ways in which the movie portrays how Mandela established his leadership as President:
Show Courtesy and Grace: On his first morning as President in his new office, Mandela slowly walked through the suite making eye contact, smiling and saying, "Good morning," to everyone he passed. This included the white staff members of the previous President...