Princess Leia. Wow.
Princess Leia is known for many things. She is known to snatch a laser blaster from a dead StormTrooper and pick off bad guys with impossible hip shots. She is know for fearlessly leading assaults against the Empire, the greatest evil to ever rule the galaxy. (Not just a country. Not just a planet mind you…the. whole. galaxy.) She is known for taking a tiny handful of star fighters, directing it at a weapon the size of a plant and blowing it up. Uh…TWICE. And most famously, for pulling off a full-on violent murder of the most notorious gangster in again, the galaxy, wearing nothing but metal swimwear.
She is also responsible for the most beautifully executed staff meeting ever. Princess Leia led a perfect meeting with confidence, clarity and caring. Watch here at the link below…
See full dialogue from “Empire Strikes Back” Hoth briefing at end of post.
Leia’s confidence, clarity and caring in the briefing before the attack is astounding.
Confidence– Leia owns that room. She is physically tiny, but stands up straight and looks at them all straight in the eye to relay her message. Her hands are behind her back to promote her seriousness. She uses proximity to get close to the pilots so she has their full attention. As small as she is, she eats up the whole room with her confidence. There is not an ounce of doubt in her that this will work.
Clarity–The content of her plan and the speech is marvelously thought out. The briefing is a different meeting than a the meetings you had to make the strategy. This plan had to be on the shelf. Ready for this moment. The shows a clear strategic understanding of how they can win based upon what they have.
The plan is not complicated and does not need debate. She gets some push back from an hotshot pilot named Hobbie (really George Lucas…Hobbie?) and answers it with a strategic answer. She calls for questions again. They all respond that they understand. Boom…. it is clear.
Caring–Her face is a mix of concern and resolve. She gives them a heartfelt wish of “good luck” at the end of the meeting and humanizes the whole thing. Her hands move from behind her back to open palms facing outward. It is the same motion that a pastor would give during a benediction.
Her Sargent, Derlin, pipes up in support of the plan. “Let’s Go!”…He believes in it. They all leave ready to kick tail.
She is a leader that I would love to follow into impossibility. Somebody that has thought it out. Somebody that is walking resolve. Somebody that cares about the people and the outcome.
Next time you call a meeting. Make it like the briefing on Hoth.
- Everybody comes prepared. They show up in their flight suit and helmet in hand. Have everyone pre-instructed with what they need to act as soon as instructions are given. (This is your job as a leader in case you missed it.)
- Make it short. Stand up. Get in. Say it. Get out.
- Be ready to communicate the message in a razor sharp way.
- Take questions, but don’t get bogged down. Take the details “off line” and come back at it again if there is something that has been missed. The detail meetings are important, but you should have knocked those meetings out before the briefing.
- Use proximity. Get close. Make it a huddle. Don’t sit behind one end of the board room table. Be together on even ground.
- Make sure the meeting has humanity. Be plugged into the emotions of the group. Make sure you believe. Include a a call to action and deliver your benediction over the next steps.
By the way…more Servant Leader stuff. For the benefit of the three people in the world that have not see “Empire”, the plan worked. They all got out of the base in time. Leia was the last one out of the base. She barely got away!
INT. REBEL BASE - MAIN HANGAR DECK With a sense of urgency, Leia quickly briefs a group of pilots gathered in the center of the hangar. LEIA All troop carriers will assemble at the north entrance. The heavy transport ships will leave as soon as they're loaded. Only two fighter escorts per ship. The energy shield can only be opened for a short time, so you'll have to stay very close to your transports. HOBBIE Two fighters against a Star Destroyer? LEIA The ion cannon will fire several shots to make sure that any enemy ships will be out of your flight path. When you've gotten past the energy shield, proceed directly to the rendezvous point. Understood? PILOTS (in unison) Right. Okay. LEIA Good luck. DERLIN Okay. Everyone to your stations. Let's go! The pilots hurry away.