I was thinking recently about the stupid movie lines that have stayed with me all these years.

Check out three of my favorites:

  • “Stay alive no matter what occurs!” a gorgeous Daniel Day-Lewis shouts to his female love interest in The Last of the Mohicans. How ridiculous. Yet, what does it mean to us normal people? It means, keep going, don’t stop, don’t give up, and take care of yourself. All very important leadership concepts.
  • “I’ve got no where else to go!” Richard Gere cries to Louis Gossett Jr. in Officer and a Gentleman. Again, a dumb line…but it’s stuck with me for too many years. And the leadership learning – that when our employees (or ourselves) think there’s no other option, no retreat, no escape, no where else to go – we often make it through to the end and succeed (and if you’re Richard Gere, even win the beautiful Debra Winger).
  • “Talk to me like you’re a two-year old” Cuba Gooding Jr. shouts to his agent, Tom Cruise, in Jerry Maguire. I think he’s mad at Tom. I think he’s trying to insult him… but there’s leadership learning here again. So many problems, arguments, and organizational challenges might just be soothed over or even disappear if we learned to speak to each other clearly, succinctly, and simply. If we learned to speak so that others could really understand us. (And maybe, also, if we learned to look at the others like cute little two-year-olds that we wanted to actually help.)

They may be stupid movie lines, but there’s something to learn in all of them.

What’s a stupid movie line you love with a hidden leadership lesson? Tell us about it.

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