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Blue Face Paint Makes Leaders

Yet again the other night, my wife and I sat through Mel Gibson’s “Braveheart”.  Yeah, I know… Mel Gibson has kind of run off the tracks of life.  Forget that for a minute.  Think about the movie.  Channel the movie.

You’re in 13th-century Scotland.  People eat mud, play with rocks and have a life expectancy of about 20 years.  The Brits are misbehaving in your homeland. The King of England has given carte blanche to his local political goons to have their way with Scottish brides, and one of the local gentry makes the mistake of irritating Mel Gibson.

Gibson, through the magic of makeup and cheesy hair extensions, has become William Wallace, the former mud-eater who gets a classical education at the expense of his uncle and ultimately becomes the champion of Scottish independence.  As the story unfolds we learn that Gibson has had his fill of British rule, and after a few commercials, so has every other unbathed Scotsman.

I know what you’re thinking.  This story ends badly.  Ultimately, William Wallace gets drawn, quartered and hanged in merry old England by the King he’s managed to irritate.  Any one of these outcomes is a bad thing, and all of them together make for an entirely disagreeable afternoon.  But that’s not germane to our insightful business analogy.  Let’s just agree that William ends up dead.  If you look at it that way, our hero is no worse off than anyone else from the 13th century.

So why even bring up Mel and his Farrah-do portrayal of William?  Because despite the challenge of doing so in a tartan skirt, Gibson’s portrayal of Wallace exemplifies one of the five key drivers for success as a business leader: passion.

William led a rag-tag band of under-powered peasants against the greatest army in the world.  He got them to fight when they didn’t want to.  He got them to over-perform.  He got them to believe that they could do things that at an individual level none of them thought they could do.  And behind him, they won.

Wallace drove success by being so committed to the mission that people had to follow him.  They couldn’t help it.  They were drawn to his mission by the power of his conviction.

OK, the power of his conviction and an Oscan-winning script.  But now is no time to be cynical.  We’re making an insightful point here.

Want your people to over-perform?  Then you must believe.  Want them to follow you?  Then you must go first into the face of the battle.  Want them to do more than they ever thought they could do?

Grow really long hair and paint your face blue.

Business is tough.  Hang in.  If we can help you, just let us know.

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Whittle & Partners is a consulting group that provides EOS™ Implementation in the United States and beyond. We offer in-person and online solutions to fit your business and schedule.Visit our about us page to learn how and why we love bringing Dallas Traction.

Jeff Whittle is a Certified Dallas EOS Implementer.

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