Movies are meant to inspire and transport you to another world. The best way to motivate your team is through storytelling. Stories transform our thinking and inspire us to do great things. Think about the last movie you went to that made you walk out looking at the world in a new way
For this month's theme, we’ve picked 8 movies that tell stories of characters that have the traits of great collaborators. These might not be the most traditional movie examples but they exemplify forgiveness, resilience, empathy, trust, purpose, growth, integrity and teamwork, all keys to successful collaboration.
The 2017 film Coco about a young, talented guitar hero traveling between the worlds of the living and the dead in order to uncover clues about his family’s old and complicated relationship with music. Coco reveals the power of meaningful goals in our lives and how working together we can achieve more than we can imagine.
The 2016 3D computer-animated comedy film Zootopia is a city of anthropomorphic animals, a rookie bunny cop ( Judy) and a cynical con artist fox ( Nick) that must work together to uncover a conspiracy. In Zootopia, Judy and Nick become allies. They hurt each other and make mistakes, but they also forgive and decide to work together to overcome bias. They learn about each other and how those biases affect each other. Empathy is one of the most important traits for collaboration. It's one of the character strengths and life skills essential for all people to be truly successful. The value of putting yourself in someone else's shoes to understand the feelings and perspective of others is priceless.
Growth Mindset: The Last Jedi
The truth is the Whole Star Wars series is about the Growth mindset each movie moves us through the learning loop. Fail, learn, fail, learn and grow from the failure. What’s great about 2017 The Last Jedi is that we don’t learn through safe mistakes, it shows us emotional gut-wrenching failures that we experience in life (okay, normally people don’t get whacked out by lightsaber but you get it.) How each of these characters responds to failure reveals a lot about them and their ability to grow and work together.
Teamwork: Wonder Woman
Full disclosure I am more of a Marvel Universe fan than DC. But I love Wonder Woman always have! The real lesson of the 2016 Wonder Woman film is about what happens when we live and work in a homogenized world. The world and the workplace is much more complicated and diverse then we care to admit.
I am not going to tell you the backstory of Wonder Woman and Themyscira, home to an immortal race of Amazons. You need watch the movie yourself. The clearest example of teamwork happens twice in the movie. The Amazons fighting the Nazis on the beach of Themyscira swinging swords, shooting arrows, and riding horses. As Antiope, Wonder Woman’s Aunt and Themyscira’s greatest warrior, calls for a shield and uses it in an amazing way. That moment is repeated when Steve Trevor calls for a shield for Diana to jump on. The teamwork in both moments highlights the greatest warriors still need to work together to be successful.
Trust Mindset: Black Panther
2018’s Black Panther is set in Wakanda, a geographically isolated region in Central Africa that was hit, once upon a time, by a magic meteor. The benevolent radiation from its metal mutates the flora, fauna; this spurs scientific and engineering development that makes Wakanda the most technologically advanced nation on Earth. No one knows this because Wakanda develops physical camouflage and a policy of radical isolation in order to avoid European colonization.
The Wakandan people illustrate how important feeling safe and valued is to human well-being—and in many ways, this creates an innovative society whose members feel safe, cared for, and connected to each other. In order to collaborate you have to trust the people around you.
We all know that trust in each other connects us. We have to have faith that in times of crisis we will find a way to look after one another as if we were one single tribe.
Forgiveness: Les Misérables
Les Misérables is a 2012 musical drama film based on the 1862 French novel by Victor Hugo.
Set in France during the early 19th century, the film tells the story of Jean Valjean, an ex-convict who, inspired by a kindly bishop, decides to turn his life around. He is always alert to the risk of being captured again by police inspector Javert, who is ruthless in hunting down lawbreakers, believing they cannot change for the better. The theme here is about how one person finding and accepting forgiveness can change the lives of many. If we can learn to forgive people that have harmed us we can learn to work together to build something greater than ourselves.
Resilience: The Pursuit Of Happiness
The Pursuit Of Happiness is a 2006 biographical drama, based on Chris Gardner’s best-selling memoir of the same name, follows Gardner in 1981, San Francisco as he tries his best to support himself and his five-year-old son, Christopher.
Gardner invests his entire life savings in portable bone density scanners and his financial instability takes a turn for the worse since not only can he not continue selling scanners, but he also gets arrested for numerous unpaid parking tickets, his wife leaves him, and they get evicted from their apartment – leaving Gardner and his son homeless.
During this time, he manages to become an intern at Dean Witter Reynolds, but the position is unpaid – with only the chance of him gaining a paid position as a broker striving him to move forward.
Despite his challenges, he believes in himself and teaches his son a powerful lesson about resilience. We are better collaborators if we trust and believe in ourselves and when we fail we pick ourselves up and keep on going.
Integrity: Hacksaw Ridge
Hacksaw Ridge is a 2016 biographical war drama film based on the 2004 documentary The Conscientious Objector. The film focuses on the World War II experiences of Desmond Doss, an American pacifist combat medic who, as a Seventh-day Adventist, refused to carry or use a weapon or firearm of any kind. Doss became the first conscientious objector to be awarded the Medal of Honor, for service above and beyond the call of duty during the Battle of Okinawa. He was responsible for saving the lives of 75 soldiers during the Battle of Okinawa despite not carrying a rifle into battle. While staying true to his religious belief of saving human life, Doss faced extreme pressure from his fellow soldiers but later earned their respect for his service and integrity. This movie shows us the power of integrity and how that creates respect and willingness to work with you.