Hollywood loves a good teamwork flick, and so do we!
Here are five of our favourite team-based movies and the valuable lessons they teach us about teamwork:
Trying to bring together competing egos is tough enough in a regular team environment; imagine trying to battle the egos of six A-type Superheroes! In The Avengers, we saw Colonel Nick Fury struggle to transform six individual superheroes into one super-team. With big personalities like Iron Man, Thor and Captain America butting heads, they spent more time fighting each other than the enemy. But after tragedy struck the team, Fury made them face the fact that their independent ways weren’t going to cut it and the only way they could win was if they put their egos aside and worked together. When it comes to a team of A-players, each member has to learn to value each other’s strengths instead of compete against it.
Lesson: A team of superstars doesn’t make a superstar team.
The Avengers finally got their act together to beat the bad guys:
What do a mammoth, a saber-toothed tiger and a sloth have in common? Absolutely nothing. And that’s just perfect! Manny the mammoth, Diego the saber-tooth and Sid the sloth may look like an odd crew but together they save a baby’s life, cross a river of lava and battle a vicious pack of sabre-toothed tigers. This unusual herd have almost nothing in common with each other but it’s their differences that make them strong. In the business world, it’s easy to fall into the trap of having cookie-cutter team members. This can make for seamless teamwork but lacks the benefits of varied viewpoints and thought-provoking collaboration.
Lesson: Teams should have diversity where members challenge each other’s thinking.
“I don’t know about you guys but we are the weirdest herd I’ve ever seen.” – Diego
Remember the Titans
What kind of teamwork list would this be if there wasn’t a football movie? And what better could there be than Remember the Titans! It had it all: segregation, racial prejudice, homosexuality, conspiracy, and… a dance sequence! Titans is loosely based on the true story of African American coach Herman Boone as he tries to introduce a racially divided team at the T. C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Virginia during the early 1970s. Boone not only has to deal with a divided team, but also a divided community. Boone breaks the team down during a rigorous training camp and gets them to forget about race and focus on what they really care about: winning the state championship.
Lesson: If your team is divided, unite them behind a common goal.
Watch Coach Boone, played by Denzel Washington, give his unifying speech at Gettysburg:
(Skip to about 1:20 for the start of the speech)
This 1995 blockbuster cranked up the suspense as we watched three astronauts stuck in space work desperately with NASA Mission Control to bring them home safely. Apollo 13 is a great example of working with virtual teams. With the astronauts up in space and Mission Control in Houston you couldn’t really get more remote than that! When it comes to virtual teams, trust and communication are key. The astronauts had to trust the Houston team would devise a strategy to bring them home safely; and Mission Control had to trust the astronauts could execute the plan properly. Through clear communication and trust in each other’s abilities, the two teams worked well under pressure and brought back Apollo 13 safely.
Lesson: Communication and trust are vital when working with remote teams.
Watch the two teams in action when crisis strikes (and hear the famous “Houston, we have a problem” line!):
THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING
There are good teams and there are bad teams, and sometimes it can be very hard to admit when yours is the latter. The Fellowship of the Ring started out as a superstar team of nine A-players who were united behind a common goal. But as their quest continued, the team began to fall apart with in-fighting and divided motivations. At the end of this first film in the trilogy, Frodo was wise enough to realize that his team could no longer work with him to reach their end goal and he would have to continue on his own.
Lesson: Know when to call it quits on an ineffective team.
But of course Frodo ‘going alone’ meant Sam tagging along with him. So, the original team of 9 became a team of 2: