Quotes and Leadership Lessons from The Great Train Robbery I

A Reel Leadership Article

The Great Train Robbery is a two-part British television miniseries that was first broadcast in 2013 (Currently available on Amazon Prime, Netflix, and others). It tells the story of the robbery of £2.6 million (£53.5 today) from a Royal Mail train heading from Glasgow to London on 8 August 1963, first from the perspective of the robbers, and then from the perspective of the police. Episode one, A Robber’s Tale, details the organization and successful completion of the robbery. Episode two, A Copper’s Tale, follows the police investigation into the crime and subsequent arrest of many of the perpetrators. It is a fascinating look at two leadership styles, similar in some aspects, very different in others.  In this first article, the leadership style of Bruce Reynolds, the “Robber” will be examined.

Characters from the TV movie The Great Train Robbery

Bruce Reynolds is the leader of a small gang of thieves, a leader who is not satisfied with the £62K ($78K today) robbery at an airport – a robbery that was “supposed to be the big one” £400K  ($507K).  He immediately begins searching for a bigger score.

Unintended Consequences: Minimizing the ‘Oops Factor’ in Decision Making

Unintended consequences is the term for outcomes that are not the ones foreseen by a purposeful act.

When a manager consistently gives tough assignments to a worker who’s proven himself to be reliable, the go-to employee may begin to feel “penalized” by the additional load while the less reliable workers get a free ride. What was intended as a compliment and vote of confidence turns out to be an unwelcome burden.

Roger Dean Duncan with his book Leadershop

Author of Leadershop, Roger Dean Duncan

In medicine, unintended consequences are called “side effects.” Have you listened carefully to television commercials for drugs? The list of side effects is often longer than the narrative promoting the medicine. Why would we be warned that a product purported to relieve a simple ailment may also produce paralysis, high blood pressure, thinning hair, skin rash, weight gain, blurred vision or even thoughts of suicide? Because the lawyers said so.

Courageous Servant Leadership

I had one of my most profound, memorable, touching experiences in Washington, D.C. two weeks ago that I’ve realized after reflection has some important connections to leadership.

President George Herbert Walker Bush, naval aviator, Congressman, Ambassador to China, Director of the CIA, Vice-President, and eventually 41st President of the United States passed away a couple of weeks ago. Immediately, Washington D.C. mourned the loss of our former leader. The flags have been at half mast ever since and will continue to be so for 30 days following a President’s death.

Photo of the white Capital Rotunda building in Washington, DC

Photo of the Capital Rotunda

A good friend and Sigma Chi pledge brother of mine suggested we go visit President Bush lying in state, pay our respects, and express our gratitude for his long life of service and leadership, the subject of this post. We spread our plan to the whole fraternity and about 8 brothers signed on to come. We decided it would only be appropriate if we wore formal attire. Some brothers were coming from class or studying so they couldn’t, but we put on jackets, ties, and slacks and piled into an uber XL for the Capitol Building.

The Fine Line Between Leadership And Management

Leader, as defined by Webster, is a person who leads, such as someone in authority whereas leadership is the actual act of leading. Often, we automatically think that only managers/supervisors are leaders however that is not the case.

Learn the difference between managing and leading

Photo by Simon Matzinger

Leaders can be found anywhere. They are that person setting an example for others, motivating them to be the best person that they can be, they could be that mean girl in school that has others following her to be part of the popular crowd or it could be that person at work that is always willing to teach others how to do things without question.

Obviously, someone who is setting examples for others and doing the right thing is thought of as a good leader since they are leading by their example. However, does that automatically make them a good manager? Not necessarily….

Leadership Lessons From Unstoppable

A Reel Leadership Flashback Article (Guest Article by James Schreier)

Unstoppable is the 2010 film based loosely on a real incident of a runaway train.  Generally praised for its action and described as a “great popcorn film,” it grossed $167 million.  Unstoppable starred Denzel Washington as Frank Barnes, soon to be retired – unwilling forced by the railroad – and Chris Pine as Will Colson, a new conductor distracted by his personal problems.  There are two other key players, Connie Hooper (Rosario Dawson) as the Yardmaster and Oscar Galvin (Kevin Dunn) as the VP of Operations for the railroad.

Leadership lessons from the movies - Unstopable

When a train leaves the railyard, unmanned, running at full speed, Frank Barnes and Will Colson begin several different attempts to stop the train before it would catastrophically crash on a high bridge with a tight curve in a community of 780K and located next to multiple fuel tanks.