Monday, 15 March 2010

Management Wonderland

Tonight I went to see Alice In Wonderland, the new Tim Burton film. Just wonderful and I recommend you all go out and see it - especially if you can catch it in 3D.

Being the Leadership Development geek I am, I was struck tonight by a few parallels between "underland" and Leadership. So if you would like to follow me down the rabbit hole...

1)You must keep believing you can do what others think is impossible. Alice regularly thinks of "six impossible things before breakfast". And, how about a Dodo anyone?
2) Be persistent - if your first go doesn't work, try something else. Alice follows the "Drink Me" bottle's label and then has to try the "Eat Me" cake. Only then does she get the key to the tiny door. Second time lucky, whilst learning from the first attempt.
3) Stay true to what you believe in. The White Queen could probably do away with her sister, but to do so would break her vows - something she is not prepared to do.
4)Change happens all the time. Don't be afraid of it - the caterpillar welcomes his cocoon and in doing so eventually becomes a beautiful butterfly
5) Don't expect to be the Champion on Day 1. Alice has to go through a number of experiences until she is able to defeat the Jabberwocky. The Mad Hatter knew she was always going to be the White Queen's Champion (despite the Dormouse's protestations) but she had to grow into the role.
6) Sometimes you need to get in bed with your enemies - the Bandersnatch originally tries to kill Alice, but eventually is one of her defenders.
7) Always have a few crazies on the team - not that surprising a piece of advice coming from The Innovation Beehive, but would Alice really have defeated The Red Queen if she had not been creatively inspired by the mad creative world of The Hatter and the March Hare?
8)The Red Queen may seem to have all the power in the world but she rules by fear and discovers it is not "better to be feared than loved". We don't want to get into a whole debate again about employee engagement (see the post In Response to The Sunday Times Best Place to Work) but you all know that this management style can only work in the short term (someone please call Downing Street).
9) Have a clear Vision of where you want to get to and communicate it clearly - my favourite part of the orginal Lewis Carol story (sadly left out of the Tim Burton film) is when Alice meets the Cheshire Cat and asks him which way she should go:

'that depends a good deal on where you want to get to' said the Cat
'I don't much care where' said Alice
'Then it doesn't matter which way you go' said the Cat

Oh and, by the way, the film is excellent!


  1. I LOVE these analogies - inspiring.

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