Business lessons from kids movies

As a father for over 17 years and a movie buff, I’ve watched a lot of kids movies. While I’ll never get back the 85 minutes I lost to the Island of Sodor with Thomas and the Magic Railroad, over the years there has been many a movie, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed, beyond being just a good movie to watch with the kids.

While the development of CGI and the massive investment of the big movie studios (notably Disney, Pixar and Dreamworks) has provided has some visually stunning movies, additionally the stories and depth of character have also developed significantly with truly engaging journeys, emotional connections and life lessons.

I’ve read plenty of lists in the past few years of the best movies for business, leaders and entrepreneurial lessons. These are generally filled with same movies – The God Father, Glen Garry Glen Ross, Remember the Titans, Risky Business, Boiler Room, jOBS etc., albeit, never with any kids movies. Below are my (current) top 5 kids movies which happen to also contain some great business lessons. If you don’t have kids do yourself a favour and watch these movies anyway, because they are amazing films in any genre. ** Beware of spoilers ahead **

Meet the Robinsons – “Keep Moving Forward”, Disney 2005.

A movie that truly embraces spirit of innovation and is built around the premise of celebrating our failures, embracing the lessons and to keep moving forward! It is underpinned by the famous Walt Disney quote of…

Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious… and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths”.

Robots – “See a need, fill a need”, 20th Century Fox 2005

With the implementation of new robots in Robot City, the “out mode” Robots can’t find replacement parts or be maintained, they are heading for the scrap heap. Rodney Copperbottom (voiced perfectly by Ewan McGregor) steps up as the entrepreneurial robot who sees a customer need in the market place and uses his talents to fill that need. This movie is all about building a movement, followership and following your dreams. As Bigweld in the movie says “You can shine no matter what you’re made of.” Also Robin Williams is in fine form playing one of his funniest characters.

The Lego movie – Question Everything – Belief in yourself, Warner Bros. 2014

Yes, this is a movie about having a positive mindset and EVERYTHING BEING AWESOME, but there are also more lessons in one of the films of 2014. Too often in business people are searching for perfection. This can play out through over-controlling leadership and over-regulation with too many policies and procedures. This leads to employees feeling less empowered, disengaged and drives a compliance culture at best. Review and streamline your policies to support ownership, increase accountability, innovation, and creativity. Empower employees to make decisions and drive change. This is about a creating a culture of the pursuit of excellence not perfection.

Monsters University – “It’s my job to make great students greater, not make mediocre students less mediocre”, Pixar 2013

As Pixar is one of favourite movie studios, which have consistently produced high quality, ground-breaking films (except for maybe Cars 2), it was hard to pick just one film. However as a Strengths Coach, a TMP accredited facilitator and someone who passionately believes in the uniqueness each brings to a team, I couldn’t go past Monsters University. This movie celebrates the importance of identifying the unique strengths and contributions each member brings to a team and not trying to make a well rounded team, by making all members well rounded. A highly effective team knows the differences of each member and draws on them for the team’s success. Difference is good and is imperative for success.

Big Hero 6, Disney 2014

The Oscar winning best-animated film for 2015 is joy to watch on so many levels. A movie, full of humour, fun characters and one of the best handling of loss and grief I’ve seen in a film. While there were some similar team and innovation themes to other movies in this list, additional lessons Big Hero 6 provided were don’t forsake others in pursuit of your passion and dreams, forgiveness is important for your own journey and when times are tough, focus on what you do best.

The opportunity to learn and grow is around us everyday, the power is in adopting an attitude of life long learning and being open to all the lessons life provides you. Please add, any additional movies in the comments.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *