Losing the Way on "The River Kwai"
My favorite leadership movie is The Bridge on the River Kwai. In this Academy Award winner, the British Commander (played by Sir Alec Guinness) demonstrates almost every quality of outstanding leadership except one: He let his goal -- to "build the bridge" -- become more important than his mission, "to win the war."
This is a wonderful case study of goal obsession. I believe that goal obsession is one of the greatest challenges faced by smart, successful leaders. For example, we may become so focused on "proving we are right" that we forget to "listen and learn." We may become so focused on making money that we ruin our family life, get divorced and lose half of everything that we made.
At the end of the movie, the Commander's last words were, "What have I done?" If leaders are not careful, they can become so obsessed with achieving their goals that they think, "What have I done?" on their death bed.
Posted by: kguy1 | February 19, 2009 10:45 AM
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