Hesitate and Die

u571.jpgOne of my favorite movies is U-571 starring Matthew McConaughey.  In the movie, a German submarine is boarded by disguised American submariners seeking to capture its Enigma cipher machine.

Now in Charge

Once the seasoned skipper dies, McConaughey is forced to assume control.  He is young, inexperienced, and scared as their submarine is under severe attack. 

Water is spraying everywhere and the young sailors are frozen with fear.  All they can do is look to their new skipper and ask, “What do we do now, sir?”

McConaughey pauses for a moment to collect his thoughts and then responds, “I don’t know.” 

The seasoned maintenance chief is watching these events unfold.  After seeing the defeat in McConaughey’s eyes and hearing his reply to the young sailors, he pulls him to the side.

You Always Know What to Do

He explains, in a rather forceful manner, that McConaughey is now in charge and that these young kids are depending on him.  He is the skipper, and as the skipper he has to know what to do.  Not knowing isn’t an option, especially in the heat of battle.

After this pep talk McConaughey gathers himself and leads the young sailors through to victory.

Morale of the Story

If you are a leader of people, and let’s face it, most of us are in some way (at work, home, school, church, etc.) I believe there is simple lesson to be learned from this scene.

When the going gets tough, someone must step up and assume control with a focused confidence.  Why shouldn’t it be you?

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