Monday, January 31, 2011

How You Can Lead Like The Green Hornet

I just saw The Green Hornet and it was awesome. As I left the movie I wondered what made him a great leader (or not) and how those lessons might apply to the business world. I know. I'm weird like that.

The good news is I've unlocked the secret of great leadership Green Hornet-style. I've also identified a couple of things you definitely DO NOT want to do Green Hornet-style if you want to be an effective leader (and if you want to become a really effective leader, CLICK HERE to learn about a book that will help you do exactly that).

If you haven't seen the movie yet, don't worry. Here's the 15 second recap. Spoiled kid inherits rich dad's company. He's bored so he becomes a vigilante super-hero with Kato - his father's longtime servant. Green Hornet and Kato dish out justice as they deem fit. Curtain.

Needless to say an immature, spoiled vigilante has issues but he does more good than harm. He shakes things up, searches for truth, and makes things happen. He also treats his teammate like dirt on occasion and doesn't think ahead or involve others in his planning. Net net, he gets the bad guys but in his own special way.

So what can you learn from The Green Hornet that can make you a better leader? This:

Green Hornet leaders aren't afraid to shake up the establishment

He challenges the status quo, operates outside of the rules, and fights for what he believes in. If he stayed within the lines he never would have donned the mask and hat in the first place. What does this mean for you? Sometimes you're going to have to choose between staying within the rules or doing what you believe is right. It'll be your call - just understand the tradeoff you make in either direction.

Green Hornet leaders always search for truth

Over the course of his adventures The Green Hornet learns what he thought was true, isn't. That new knowledge led him to reevaluate his view of the world and ultimately he took some dramatic action based on the new truths he found. For you? Never stop searching for the whole truth. Be willing to abandon old beliefs and approaches when you get new information that contradicts what you previously thought to be true.

Green Hornet leaders are decisive

In the movie, he took more than his fair share of risks. Regardless of the obstacles in front of him, he acted based on the best information available to him. No, it didn't always work out but acting and being wrong was more often a better choice than standing and doing nothing. The implications for you are you need to go make that decision you've been putting off forever. Go. Now. Make things happen.

He also did some things you should definitely NOT do.

Don't treat your teammates like crap

I know this seems to go without saying but it can and does happen. The Green Hornet got stressed out. He felt betrayed by Kato at one point. He felt he wasn't getting his fair share of what he deserved. That led him to start a fight with Kato (it was an awesome fight scene though) that was a less-than-productive use of their talents. Before you say "I would never do that" stop and think about the last time you were stressed out or felt wronged by someone in your organization. How did you react? Were you the bigger person or did you create conflict? Riiiight. That's what I thought. The next time the stress picks up, take a few minutes to clear your head before lashing out. You'll be glad you did.

Don't leave your teammates out of the planning process

After his fight with Kato, The Green Hornet concocted a plan of his own. He didn't involve Kato in the planning process. When things got real, the plan fell apart (it was completely idiotic, as you'd expect) and they almost got killed. Had he involved Kato from the start he wouldn't have had such a close call. For you this means getting input from your team DURING the planning process - not after you've started executing. They'll help you make your plan better.

On balance, The Green Hornet has the makings of a pretty good leader. He has some rough spots (don't we all) but I'm sure by the time the sequel rolls around he'll have smoothed some of those rough edges.

When you get back to work after reading this, give being a Green Hornet leader a try and see what happens. Just don't mount rocket launchers on your car, please.

- Mike Figliuolo at thoughtLEADERS, LLC
- Get the latest updates on my upcoming book One Piece of Paper - CLICK HERE


destratisphere said...

I haven't seen the movie yet, but it makes me wonder if you've seen The Last Castle and if you have any leadership related comments on it. I try to watch it once a year to keep General Irwin's example fresh in my mind. I want to be that kind of leader.

Mike Figliuolo said...

@Destratisphere - haven't seen the movie but sounds like I need to. Thanks for reading the post. I'll be sure to add Last Castle to my list.

Sean O'Neil said...

Love this post, Mike. I too look for leadership/management lessons while those I'm with are simply enjoying the entertainment value. Been seeing a lot of similar lessons in sports events as well.