We sometimes need inspiration from the arts to re-energize us and refuel our focus and mission. If you’re looking for a few movies to check out in the near future, I’d like to recommend three films.

1) Moneyball – Leaders often find themselves short on resources to accomplish their job. These obstacles can be overcome by being creative, allowing people to operate at their best, and sharing a clear vision. Based on the true story, General Manager, Billy Beane, challenged standard baseball methods using analytics and an evidence-based approach to build an amazing MLB team with undervalued players. Beane implemented new and disruptive ways to revive his struggling career. Leaders often find themselves short on resources to accomplish their job.

Former CEO of General Electric, Jack Welch said, “Leaders probe and push with a curiosity that borders on skepticism, making sure their questions are answered with action.” As a leader, your job isn’t to have all the answers. Your job is to ask the right questions and make sure you have the right people on board to answer them.

So what are some real world examples of putting this in place? Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are metrics many businesses use to measure productivity. Good leaders take a look at these figures and ask questions like: 1) What are these numbers telling us? 2) What do we need to do in response?

Having data is only half the battle. Knowing what the data means and what the story of the data tells is crucial to knowing which way to adjust the sails on your ship. Simplify the KPIs so it’s easy for anyone to understand.

The other lesson learned from Moneyball is about embracing change. Doing things the way we always do them will eventually kill innovation and slow growth. Through mentoring the next generation, we can invigorate new talent to bring a fresh look at target markets, demographics, strategies, processes and procedures.

Looking to stream Moneyball? You can find it on Amazon Prime as well as Itunes and Vudu.

2) The Endurance – Another story brought to the big screen based on real life events, Ernest Shackleton and his crew began a journey to be the first to cross the Antarctic continent on foot. However, the expedition took a turn for the worse. Shackleton was forced to pivot from an exploration adventure to a basic survival mission.

After months spent in makeshift camps as the ice drifted, Shackleton and his crew took lifeboats with hopes to reach the inhospitable, uninhabited Elephant Island. Shackleton and a select five others then made an 800-mile open-boat journey to reach South Georgia. From there, Shackleton was eventually able to mount a rescue of the men waiting on Elephant Island and bring them home without loss of life.

The leadership takeaway for anyone watching this film is how Shackleton understood his crew, their strengths and weaknesses and what motivated them. He also had a way of sensing danger and worked to minimize risk. One of his greatest qualities though was that he put the welfare of his crew above everything else. 

The Endurance is perhaps the best demonstration of pivoting to meet new challenges, knowing your team’s needs, and doing what is best to protect the needs of the whole ever captured on film.

You can catch The Endurance streaming on Amazon Prime.

3) Kung Fu Panda 3 – You’re likely surprised to see this choice, after all, it’s just a kid’s movie, right? I personally love this movie because of the subtle way leadership lessons are taught. The movie centered on the continuous need to improve your skills and relationships. Po, the main character, was a hesitant leader who found the inner strength to guide his crew of pandas through adversity. He shared great vision, treated others with respect, and demonstrated concern for their well-being.

Master Shifu to Po: “I’m not trying to turn you into me. I’m trying to turn you into you.” It’s crucial to find what inspires your team and equip them with the tools they need to succeed and thrive as the best “Po” they can be.

Shifu: “If you only do what you can do, you’ll never be better than what you are.” This sage advice is applicable for leaders as well as team members. Doing only what you can do won’t allow room for growth. Imagine what you could do 10 years ago versus what you can do today. How did this happen? You likely learned a new skill, took on new responsibilities, set a new goal, and/or tried new methods to achieve your goals. Doing the same thing day after day, the same way, may achieve the same results but it won’t grow your team or your business.

Shifu: “Time is just an illusion; there is only the now.” Clearly the past can help us understand the future; however, it’s important to be present in the here and now. A favorite phrase I like to remember to avoid procrastinating is, “if not now, when?”

We are living in a society where time is of the essence and our attention is being pulled in many directions. If you can find ways to maximize time spent on tasks, you will find ways to increase productivity and as a result continue to grow your business while making a working environment that puts employees at ease.

This saying from Shifu is also a great reminder to not get stuck in the past. With any group, people are inevitably going to make mistakes. It’s vital to practice what you preach to model appropriate behavior so a team can learn and move on from errors. The problem a lot of humans face when it comes to conflict is it’s difficult to show grace but even more difficult to forget – thus leaving that individual who has made an error feeling stuck in a situation where they can’t grow or thrive. But any great innovator will tell you, the only way you learn and grow is through making mistakes. Make it okay to make mistakes. Make it okay to live in the now.

This film is currently only available for purchase, but definitely worth it for your team and your kids!

If you found this short list of films helpful for you and your team, let me know! We’d love to hear your recommendations as well!