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CroodsSaw the movie “The Croods” this past weekend and as many of you know, I’m a BIG movie fan. I’m also the dork that sits in the theatre and takes notes on the movie, applying what I see to leadership. Talk about living what you love! Ha! “The Croods” is a lovely family movie, but I also loved the lessons in leadership that we can apply. Here are five.

  1. New is BAD. Anything that was new or different was considered bad and would most certainly result in “dying”! This was intended to be literal for the cave man family, but doesn’t it exist in your office? Usually it sounds like “That’s now how we did it 10 years ago”. Try a new approach to the same old problem. You might be surprised at the innovation, but also better outcome.
  2. Curiosity is WORSE. Venturing out of the cave for Eep (the daughter) was a big no-no. Is venturing away from the systems, processes, customers, and goals that you’ve always had for the team or the company, really such a bad thing? You may not discover something as revolutionary as “Fire”, but if you’re “world” is ending (industry, revenue, customer base) then curiosity is NOT worse, but necessary!
  3. Ideas are for Weaklings. The cave man Dad in this movie was jealous of “Guy” who seemed to have all the great ideas and threatened his role as leader of the family. He began saying “What would Guy do?” and turned it into “What would I do?”, experiencing excitement when he actually had an idea. Who are you threatened by that might be coming up with the new and different, creative, or innovative ideas. What ideas might YOU come up with when you stop focusing on the ideas or “difficulty” of others?
  4. Living is Not Dying. Wow! Talk about work-life balance. This hot topic is seeing a resurgence and the movie elucidates that living is not, in fact, simply the act of not dying. Staying safe and the same, going to work day in and day out, doing the same old things over and over that you’re used to, may in fact, keep you in your job. It may even keep you “alive”, but it’s a long way from thriving. What do you really want to be doing that would let you “live it UP” versus just live through life?
  5. Even the Scariest Ones Have a Soft Side.  There is a wonderful part of the movie that shows a “ferocious” rainbow colored saber toothed tiger who suddenly befriends the cave man father when he realizes they need each other and could help each other. He goes from growling to purring in an instant. Are there members of the team you lead who seem scary and oh so difficult, that are simply protecting themselves and fearful of an outcome that you could protect, befriend, or work with, instead of deal with or run from?

The movies may not be real, but the principles are alive and well. In fact, the ending of the movie left me thinking…  So, why not abandon the rules (normal social or business conventions and protocols)…  Have a new idea or two (get creative, show innovation and encourage it in those you lead)…  And go toward the light (go for that goal of what you really want for you, them or the    company)…

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