The scene: Josey and his injured young rebel friend furtively approach a river crossing. There they meet three very interesting people – the boatman, Sim Carstairs, who ferries people across the river, Granny Hawkins, who provides supplies and “poultices” to travelers, and a fastidious carpetbagger, wearing a white suit, selling bottles of a cure-all elixir. It is these new characters, not Josey, that teach us a few interesting leadership and communication lessons.
Depending on your point of view, Sim is either a brilliant businessman or a snake in the grass. He tells a carpetbagger who is waiting to cross the river, “In my line of work you got to be able to whistle either the Battle Hymn of the Republic or Dixie with equal enthusiasm, depending upon present company.” Which would you think he is?
Lesson 6: Communication is Received Best When You Talk to People in THEIR Language.
By Bob Maksimchuk
[If you missed part 1 of this series you can read it here. Spoiler alert: This series will incrementally reveal the plot of this movie. If you have not seen the movie (Where have you been?), I recommend you get the movie and enjoy it prior to reading this series.]
The scene: After his family and farm are destroyed, Josey joins with a group of rebels who fight a guerrilla war against the Union. The fight drags on. Eventually, the group’s leader (Fletcher) convinces everyone, except Josey, to turn themselves in to the Union soldiers. Fletcher had negotiated amnesty for the band of rebels. What the rebels did not know was that he did it for a price. The men surrendered and were killed by the Union soldiers. Despite a valiant effort, Josey could not save them. Only he and an injured young rebel (“the boy”) escaped.
All the rebels had been betrayed by the Union (including Fletcher – he believed they would receive amnesty). But...
By Bob Maksimchuk
Sometimes you can learn important lessons from unconventional sources. If you are unaware, the classic 1976 movie western The Outlaw Josey Wales, set near the end of the U.S. Civil War, was directed by and starred Clint Eastwood, who played the main character Josey Wales. The writers may not have intended it; however this movie is replete with leadership and communication lessons that are applicable to executives, project managers, team members, or any of us especially in difficult times on our projects. You currently may not be in a leadership position but some day may need to lead. All of us do need to effectively communicate with those that we work with. You often hear the lament that technical people need to develop “soft skills”. So let’s see what we can learn from Josey Wales and hopefully have some fun along the way.
[Spoiler alert: This series...