Sunday, October 10, 2004

The Power of a Broken Person

Last night, Marie and I watched Das Boot: The Director's Cut. Our movie-watching is taking on a decidedly serious tone, what with the Pianist last week and now this. I'm planning on getting out Bridge over the River Kwai next week!

Anyway, we were analysing the team dynamics at work on the submarine. (If you haven't seen the movie, it's probably good to read the story summary first.)

The captain (actually Kapitän-Leutnant) seems to be a real driver personality, ignoring the needs of the people he's working with, just getting the job done. It's only later on in the movie, when things are very, very bad, and he has in fact given up, that those around him start using their initiative to bring breakthroughs. It's then he starts to become emotionally intelligent - heaping copious praise on them, like "Good. That's good!". Doesn't sound a lot, but it's a lot from him.

Made me think - sometimes we need to go through the bad things in life to realise what we need to do. Anyone else got thoughts on that?


At 8:03 PM, Blogger Borscht said...

Hi Simon -- most definitely in the affirmative. I think part of this explains the breakdown in the inflated economy of five-six years ago. One of the large problems which perhaps hastened the demise of several of the dotcoms was the lack of experience on the part of the kids running the enterprises. When the detrius hit the proverbial fan, many of them weren't even equipped with the basic skills on how to boil their own water, let alone take care of sinking ship.

I remember one of the jobs I'd gone in for -- I sat there amazed as one of the new hires had wanted a cup of coffee -- but stood dumbfounded in front of the kettle and instant coffee not knowing what to do. When one of the veteran staffers had gone over to inquire as to what was the matter, this mid-twentysomething of a young man admitted that he didn't know how to BOIL WATER. Smartest kid with the computers -- could troubleshoot all the probs in the office in a jiff -- but when it came to the Cro-Magnon (nod and a wink to Suse) simplicity of making instant Nescafe, no can do.

Experience is everything.

An analogy -- rough diamonds are impure, by nature. Polish and nurture 'em, and next thing you know you've got yourself a bee-you-tiful looking piece. Leaders are kinds like that as well.

At 12:23 AM, Blogger Simon said...

Just crossing over to our other discussion about education - do you think it's possible for someone who's had a 'normal', safe existence to really shine as a leader? Or does it take something out of the ordinary to give someone the ability to see things out of the ordinary..?


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