What possible business insights can we glean from children’s movie characters Dusty Crophopper, Skipper, Classified and SpongeBob?
No, I haven’t lost my mind.
Being an uncle to young boys, I’ve seen The SpongeBob Movie, Penguins of Madagascar and Planes: Fire & Rescue in the last six months.
While these movies aim to entertain (and make a profit – SpongeBob was number one last weekend), they are also embedded with social lesson skills for young children, especially group dynamics. And, if you think about it, those same dynamics translate to important business organization themes that can either fuel success or cause dysfunction.
In each of the three movies, the main characters have to navigate situations and challenges that teach the critical importance of the following:
- Dealing with Change
- Organization Alignment
- Positioning Employees for Success
In Planes: Fire & Rescue, main character and flying ace Dusty Crophopper has to cope with the challenge of joining a new company and adapting to a different job. At first, he’s a cocky, hot-shot. He has trouble performing due to a lack of focus and unwillingness to get aligned with the objectives and needs of the team/organization.
Dusty grows with the help of wise, mentoring colleagues, and actual trial by fire. He learns to understand his role, and how to contribute to and be part of a winning team. He also understands that self-sacrifice is sometimes necessary for the team to win.
In Penguins of Madagascar, we get a variety of lessons about leader evolution, encouraging initiative at all levels, and knowing when to ask for help.