Byron's Babbles

“I’m Not A Leader!” ~ Red

screen-shot-2016-09-17-at-1-10-44-pmAs those who read my blog know, I love Angry Birds. Angry Birds, the game, is a great example of how we should be educating our children. Providing instant feedback and the chance to try over using the information gained. This is a true example of using a growth mindset set. To read my post “The Angry Birds Effect” click here. To read my post “Angry Birds University” click here. For those reading this post that have never played Angry Birds let me give you a little tutorial. Basically, you are presented with Angry Birds and a sling shot and your job is to destroy green pigs who are sheltered by very creative structures in a variety of settings.

Then, on May 20, 2016 The Angry Birds Movie was released. The movie is a 2016 Finnish-American 3D computer-animated action-adventure comedy film based on, nonetheless, my favorite video game series Angry Birds. The movie received mixed reviews from critics and has grossed over $346 million. Of course, you know I could care less what the critics say – good or bad. I can decide for myself. So I did. I downloaded the HD version on my iPad and sat back on my last plane trip and watched. I thought it was awesome!

There are those that say I can make leadership lessons out of anything. Honestly, that is probably true, but there are three or four great lessons in this movie. Over the next few weeks I will blog about all of them. First, however, I need to give you a quick review of the movie. The movie is based on flightless birds leading mostly happy lives, except for Red, who just can’t get past the daily annoyances of life. His temperament leads him to anger management class, where he meets fellow misfits Chuck, Bomb, and Terence. Red becomes even more agitated when his feathered brethren welcome green pigs to their island paradise. As the swine begin to get under his skin, Red joins forces with Chuck and Bomb to investigate the real reason behind their mysterious arrival. The pigs have arrived to steal all the eggs from the birds. Despite all Red’s warnings, the birds let the pigs steal the eggs right from under their beaks.

Red’s anger started early in his life when fellow students bullied him by making fun of his file-2thick, black eyebrows. Because no-one seemed to see his value, he had difficulty seeing the value in others. But, as we know all the Angry Birds have unique talents. Fat black-and-white ones drop eggs and ricochet off walls; triangular yellow ones cut through things, orange ones blow up to several times their original shape, while tiny blue ones explode into a trifecta of glass shattering shimmers. Amazingly, all of the birds in the game are seen in the movie at some point.This recognition of uniqueness is an important component in developing good relationships between the talent on teams. As leaders, we need to understand, and anticipate, future competencies so they can build a talent portfolio ready to meet any challenge.

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“I’m Not A Leader!” ~ Red

My favorite seen in the movie is after the pigs have stolen all the eggs on the island and the birds come to Red and apologize for not listening to his warnings. He is asked, “What are we going to do?” Red says, “Wait a minute, you’re asking me?” Then a group of birds says to Red, “We need a leader now. You need to be our leader.” To this, Red promptly replies, “I’m not a leader!” That didn’t last long, however, because Red then jumped into action directing everyone on how they would build a boat to get them to Piggy Island to get the eggs back. This was a classic example of someone leading from where they were, when it was needed, and by who it was needed. It was one of the greatest scenes in a movie ever. Bottom-line, Red led the birds in an all out successful assault to get their eggs back. There was much more action to this than I am letting on, so you will need to watch the movie. The point is, though, that, Red, the least likely of characters, became a great leader. This just goes to show that everyone is a leader!

file-5This also shows the genius of the Rovio game designers who built Angry Birds scenes from virtual elements like clouds and wood, concrete slabs and triangles of glass. Every material reflects different physical properties, and each one reacts in its own way to the different birds species. This makes the game more complex and more interesting. The movie used these same unique characteristics. Gone are the days (or maybe there weren’t ever any days) when you could have a single “leader” come in and fix all the problems and move the organization toward its vision. Today, we need everyone to be a leader! Even the least likely “Red” in our organization.

I believe we all understand that leadership is about guiding, directing, or influencing people. Leadership opportunities exist in various positions, settings, or roles. In other words leadership happens everywhere and by everyone. Leadership settings exist in schools, institutions of higher education, government, businesses – both large and small, professional organizations, churches, and social organizations. Regardless of the setting or position, a leader needs to be able to diagnose the situation and shift roles as appropriate to achieve a desired goal. In Angry Birds you can’t outsource talent. We can in our organizations, but do we always need to or do we need to make sure we are developing all our talent into the leaders our organizations need and deserve.

What are you doing to make sure even those who are like Red in your organization are effective leaders? Our goal should be for no-one to ever say, “I am not a leader.”

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