Not a huge Tom Cruise fan and wasn’t pumped about my cousin Aileen’s suggestion that we do a team movie night to watch Top Gun Maverick, but if you are looking for a culture team-building event you couldn’t find a better option!
Enticed by the $7 Penn Cinema Lititz Tuesday summer discount we decided to invite the team Tuesday night. Obviously a fictional story, but the respect for those who defend our freedoms should go without saying and of course a story line highlighting that sacrifice is tailor made for a leadership lesson. If you haven’t seen the movie and don’t want to know any of the plot hit that scroll button!
Most of the crew wasn’t born when the “original Top Gun” was filmed in the 80s, and some of the rest of us were so old that we forgot the details. The movie was amazing and after an ice cream night we gathered the next day for a recap. I asked for an overall leadership lesson and then took each of our core values and asked if they could find an example. The movie was filled with them, I don’t think any company couldn’t do the same exercise.
Other than the self sacrifice that was throughout the movie, the main theme was teaching being most effective by those who can do and not expect the students to do more or put more effort in than the teacher. The empathy built in the process was easily noticeable and the team of individuals who were the best and brightest of flight school actually ended up liking each other enough to save each others lives.
Without going into too much detail here are some of the examples that the guys came up with as core value matches:
Put Others First-Evident obviously in the self sacrifice of lives on multiple occasions
Blameless Problem Solving-Ending an actual argument on why you would disobey orders to save another so you can quickly assess the situation and find a solution after being shot down. The guys noted that it takes someone to make the first move and not worry about being right in an argument.
Response Time Fanatic–2:30 to the target–enough said!
Practice Human Connection-Constant examples throughout, teamwork built by fun activities like pickup football which were prioritized even with the mission looming deadline. “Why are you out here playing football when we have so much to teach them”. “You wanted a team, I’m giving you a team” Guys noted the fist pumps and smiles that can lift someone every day.
Be Family–Too much to mention. High pressure builds teams in the fire.
Comfortable Being Uncomfortable–Learning, stress, performing feats beyond your abilities because you are carried by the team.
Act with Integrity and Transparency–No other way to act. Examples of this in the movie that lead to destruction of the team highlighted the importance of honesty.
All About People–Valuing life with your own is a level very few of us are asked to give but in our daily lives we must prioritize people over everything.
There are so many other leadership lessons and culture moments in this movie that it made for the perfect experience. Strength in weakness, humility, honor and never closing the door on someone’s redemption were more obscure backdrop themes that added to the lesson. I was very happy to be wrong about this team movie night and the lessons that it revealed and would recommend it to anyone–especially on $7 Tuesday!