3 Jul 2019
I’ve just been listening to Danny Boyle being interviewed on Radio 4. Apparently every film Director knows that you ‘kill the comedy if you move the camera’. When working with great comedians like Rowan Atkinson, you have to take a step back and let the Actor tell the story. Actors are creators too. Directors will set out with an idea of how a scene will go, but according to the legend that is Danny Boyle, to capture true authenticity he has to resist the temptation to micro-manage and let the actors lead.
This idea reminds me of a Military mantra I heard during my rugby career.
‘Seldom do the best made plans survive contact with the enemy.’
It basically means that no matter how well we have prepared, or how much we think we know, it is not until we get our hands dirty in the midst of battle that we can really fully appreciate what is needed. We cannot predict exactly how our competitors will attack, or how we will all respond to pressure. To win we must deal with the facts, rather than assumptions. (Ass you and me!)
So ‘Am I brave enough to be inspired by the direction of Danny Boyle’ I guess I am asking myself if I am brave enough to trust other people to deliver on my behalf? And even more difficultly, ‘Am I brave enough to really listen to their opinions, even if by doing so I am forced to realise that I have been wrong! My beliefs, my behaviour was wrong? I’m not actually as good as I thought I was? I am not the ‘thought-leader’ I thought I was, and actually I need to change what I am doing if I want to get my pride back and protect the people and things I care most deeply about!
Yes it’s been a month of enlightenment!
Why did I think being successful in my life would require any different behaviours to the ways we have just touched on when looking at winning in Film, Sport or War?
Well I can tell you my ‘heart is still (intermittently) in my mouth’, but the good news is that now I know I’ve made mistakes I can try to fix things. I’ve got a new mantra. ‘Beliefs will inspire the solution’. (When I listen!)
What we need and what we think we need is constantly changing, so we all need to keep adapting. I must be arrogant if I think I know the answers before I have even listened for the questions. I want to be proud of who I am and what we do. So I need to trust others and learn from them. I can still be a great leader and inspire excellence by delivering results and by helping my team to prepare and rehearse. But once the whistle blows or the director shouts “Action” we must all be free to make decisions as they see them.
I don’t think I’m the only person that is sometimes stubborn or unwilling to re-assess – We have so much work to and so little time, we don’t have the luxury of trying to optimise everything. But we do need to prioritise. And interestingly, it is human nature to try to avoid pain, physical and emotional pain. And questioning yourself and finding out you are wrong is painful, so is this why we tend to avoid it? But to thrive in the long-term, we all need to keep evolving to take advantage of a world that is changing faster than ever before.
I’ve mentioned in previous months that I am concerned that global warming, extinction and socio-political unrest. But I’m not defeatist about this. I think our need to survive will drive change and fuel a fantastic era where we take more responsibility for our planet. One in which we can carve out lives full of laughter and full of hope for our children’s futures.