Everyone who already watched John Wick II would agree with me that it’s like a mix of The Matrix and Die Hard on steroids. I’ve watched both John Wick I & II and my guess is that John Wick single handedly takes out 500 people. Pretty impressive! In one of the first scenes, Abram Tarasov – a Russian gangster – describes John Wick as “a man of pure focus, commitment and sheer will”. Core characteristics for any leader. In this article I want to analyse these characteristics and see how these traits can help leaders become better leaders.
FOCUS: “If you chase two rabbits, both will escape.” ~ Anonymous
True leaders can make a clear distinction in what really is important. Priorities shift during the lifecycle of a company. Maybe you’re chasing sales numbers at the launch of your startup, in a later stage the focus could be on improving the margins or maybe the focus is on how to empower your employees. I’ve been in situations where actually everything felt important. But when you drill down these priorities, there will always be top priorities in your priority list. Only focus on the top 3 for example, because when “everything is important” actually nothing is. As leaders you need to have a clear focus on what is important and be able to articulate that to your teams. Prioritise, focus your actions, track progress and adjust where needed.
COMMITMENT: “The men who have succeeded are men who have chosen one line and stuck to it.”~ Andrew Carnegie
It’s easy to setup KPI’s for your team, but it’s a different story to get your hands dirty and fight with them and go out in the field to get new customers or new partners together with them. Any leader should be committed and show their dedication to the team. This way you will also gain more trust and confidence from the teams and can become a trusted advisor. People don’t care until they see that the leadership is committing and showing they also care by actually getting involved. When a committed leader makes decisions, he or she does so with the organisation’s success in mind and wants to make it happen together with the people.
WILL: “The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence.” ~ Confucius
A sheer will is like the fuel in your car. Any leader should have the will to make an impact and bring change. At the same time, just like the fuel in your car, willpower is finite and can get exhausted. Therefore it’s important to put the right fuel in your car, which brings us back to self-awareness. Why are you doing, what you’re doing? Is it a strong enough reason? Secondly, there are several things you can do to train your willpower i.e. manage stress levels, stick to a pre determined plan or get more sleep to help your brain manage energy better.
The first conclusion is that John Wick II is a kick-ass movie (literally), so if you haven’t seen it yet, go check it out. Furthermore, any leader or potential leader should embody these characteristics of John Wick: focus, commitment and will. Three ingredients, when mixed well together, can make an impactful leadership cocktail. Focus on the top priorities, commit to the organisation’s goals together with your team and have the sheer will to bring change and impact.