We all know of James Bond. Beit Sean Connery or Daniel Craig, Ian Flemming’s character has managed to stay relevant over the years. Is this a sign of his excellence and should leaders being taking note, or ignoring secret agent’s antics?
CREDIT: This is an edited version of an article that originally appeared on Management Today
The new James Bond film finally hit cinemas last month and proved 007 to be as popular as ever, becoming the highest grossing opening weekend of any film in the saga.
Adaptable, committed and resourceful, these are just some of the possible lessons business leaders could learn from the British secret agent. He’s also is risk-taker who often flies in the face of the law – so is he a hero, or best to be ignored?
Changing with the times
Gone are the days of clear male chauvinism and the objectification of women. The latest Bond has embraced diversity and provided its audience with far stronger female characters. “The Me Too movement has had a huge impact – rightfully, thankfully – on society, and these films should reflect that, as everything we do should,” said Bond franchise producer Barbara Broccoli.
Here is a lesson to take from the change in character development in Hollywood. Certainly, most businesses are already well-versed on the importance of diversity and inclusion at work, though out-dated values remain in many companies. Acquiring new employees who aren’t afraid to challenge leadership can help move the team in the right direction. A great example of this is Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s appointment as a writer on the latest film, which spoke volumes about the future of the character.
Viewers may have also noticed the development of a more ‘human tough’ side and stronger relationships around the character of Bond. We’ve learnt more about his back-story – childhood, family etc. – and been able to relate far more to a character who, for so long, has been very difficult to connect with. This is important for leaders, particularly in the post-pandemic era, in order to stay connected with those around them.
While jumping out a plane, or dodging a bullet, are not things leaders have to deal with often, it does show Bond’s quick-thinking. This is certainly a skill leaders have had to develop over the last two years or so and after such change, they’ll have to continue to adapt and keep up with the times.
There are not many things Bond loves more than a vodka martini – though gadgets may be one of them. Whether it’s a jet-pack or a laser watch, Bond always remains up-to-date with the latest in cutting edge technology. On a slightly less exciting scale, we’ve all had to become adept at using our own tech recently – adding the Cloud and Teams to our toolbox.
On a daily basis, leaders have to maintain a cohesive, happy and productive hybrid workforce, a challenge made easier, by taking advantage of the latest technology – in particular those platforms which facilitate better collaboration and communication.
At the start of the latest film, Bond is seen enjoying early retirement. Unsurprisingly (Spoiler alert) this doesn’t last long as he’s soon back to his normal, animated self. We did see, though, that the hero did allow himself a break before returning to the high-stakes world of espionage with a clearer head and renewed vigour. After a taxing 18 months, it’d be wise for many leaders to do the same – burn-out is a realistic and serious barrier we need to make sure we avoid.
Imagine it, “The name is Bond, James Bond; welcome to our AGM.” Bond isn’t the first name on the silver screen that might come to mind as a leadership role model. That being said, as the character develops over time, so must we – and 007’s many leadership character traits should not be overlooked.