Have you seen INVICTUS? I went to see it a second time last week and felt compelled to write about my experience of it, primarily because too few have seen it. Unfortunately, it seemed to be overshadowed by the captivating AVATAR and other holiday escapes.
The film is an uplifting true story about Nelson Mandela’s remarkable leadership. You get a front row seat to witness a leader as he invites a nation to EXPERIENCE the “end he has in mind” he holds for their rise to greatness. Morgan Freeman received a well-deserved nomination for a Golden Globe and also an Oscar for his portrayal of South African President Nelson Mandela — a role, reportedly, Mandela himself chose for Mr. Freeman. It is moving and memorable.
It seems during a time when so much is messed up in both business and society, INVICTUS should be required watching for all leaders and aspiring leaders and anyone interested in creating a better world and society than we know today. Although, the movie chronicles a sports event, it is about something far bigger and richer — it is about people struggling and questioning one another. Kicking and screaming at first, but coming around again. Coming together. Doing their part. Lifting themselves up and everyone and everything around them. Experiencing the miracle that comes when we UNITE in a kind of oneness that suits our humanity well. As I watched, I flashed on times in my life and work, when I felt this same rush. A few of those were flashbacks from my career at IBM when a team of us reached inside ourselves to do something far greater than we thought was possible.
Before watching the film, I wished I had known both the words of the poem by heart and the story behind it.
by William Ernest Henley, 1875
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
This is the movie trailer that, frankly, doesn’t do the film justice, but it will give you a glimpse out of context…
LEADERSHIP LESSONS TO SHARE
I wrote down three lessons that were validated in this timely film…
1. SEE DIFFERENCES DIFFERENTLY. Master seeing DIFFERENCES differently so you can see through the eyes of those who are essential to CHANGE — especially, if they are your “enemies.” Understanding what matters to them and genuinely caring about it is important. It sets you free to authentically do your important work.
2. INVEST IN KNOWING YOUR PEOPLE. If you want people to follow you, teaching them to believe in themselves first makes it easier. To do this, invest in knowing and caring about who they are. Then demonstrate mutual trust and respect with every day-to-day opportunity afforded to you.
3. THE POWER OF “THE EXPERIENCE.” Helping people experience “the end in mind” — even for a short while — makes it easier to take the leader’s vision to the next level, step-by-step. It shows people they are in charge of their destiny.
“It always seems impossible until it is done.”
— Nelson Mandela
I hope you see it and stop by to share what you saw in INVICTUS from your vantage point.
One of seven paintings of special leadership influences that hang above my desk. They look over me as I work, always encouraging me to keep moving ever onward. Original oil painting by Sally K. Green.
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IBMer 1970 – 1991 L.A.; Anchorage; Seattle; San Francisco