Thursday, October 15, 2015

What I learned in film school

The film industry may hold a stereotype of being full of moody creatives, divas, wannabes and overpumped egos. And yet maybe it is the best example of collaboration there is.

Interestingly, two competing consultancies I work with have both recently written about collaboration.  David Williams from Impact International identifies it as a key organisational differentiator.   Indeed we are all keen to know how to do it and do it well.

Dipping into a film course as a hobby, I couldn’t help but observe it from my leadership consultant perspective.  It was a fascinating insight into giving and letting go, and contrary to popular opinion, egoless leadership.

I’m one of those who will sit and watch the credits roll at the end of a movie.  It impresses me how many people it takes to bring something to the screen.  There they are, listed one by one.  Numerous people with various roles and responsibilities who have come together to create something more than what the individuals themselves could ever achieve alone.  

Anyone of us can appreciate that movie making requires an economic and powerful creative symbiosis of pictures, sound, light, words and action. 

Each individual, from behind the scenes, to those we get to see on the screen, contributes their gifts whatever they may be and then steps out of the limelight to let another build on what has been done. Each person comes with their skills, talents and aspirations, prepared to engage in a creative process of sharing, debating and accommodating..and then of letting go and stepping back.  Such individuals are, as Lane4 writes in terms of what is required for collaborative behaviour, both assertive and cooperative.  They are confident about what they can bring to the party and have a willingness to work with others.  Work to such an extent that they are prepared to ‘kill their darlings’, sacrifice their precious attachments,  to serve the bigger picture (pun  so intended).  You have the likes of the screenwriter sweating over the crafting of their script who then has to stand back to allow the Director to give their vision.  The Director in turn has still to negotiate with all the other skilled contributors, including the actors whose role is to breathe life into the lines, in order to mould the characters and story further.  Finally, there is the drama of the cut-throat editing process where things can change in a snip. 

A movie is only possible through the diversity of knowledge, skills and expertise of all the collaborating parties.  And so is sustainable development.

In the spirit of improving collaboration, to what extent are you creating the right environment for each person to make their unique contribution for the collective good?  


Lane4 Management Group (6 October 2015)  Collaboration to Perform (White Paper)

image: via google

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