Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Indiana Jones And The Dial Of Destiny

A Reel Leadership Article

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Harrison Ford returns as the adventuring Indiana Jones in his fifth outing as the character. After the disastrous Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, the character is back. This is the Indiana Jones movie fans have been longing for.

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny explores Indiana Jones’ search for Archimedes’ (Nasser Memarzia) Antikythera mechanism. This device could supposedly send someone back in time. 

How cool would it be for Indiana Jones to actually experience history rather than research it? That was his thought. He wanted to be able to experience history as it happened

Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones in Dial of Destiny

We’re brought back in time to his fight against the Nazis to his present-day of 1969. We get to meet his estranged goddaughter Helena (Phoebe Waller-Bridge), encounter old friends, and go on a grand adventure.

Indiana Jones’ adventure is more than history. It’s also leadership. Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is a crash course in leadership theory and practice. Join with me as I explore the hidden leadership lessons in Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny.

Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Indiana Jones And The Dial Of Destiny

1. You can only fake it for so long:

The movie opens with a CGI de-aged Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones. He’s been caught by the Nazis he’s tried to infiltrate.

One of the Nazis mentions what happened. Indiana Jones had been impersonating a Nazi officer.

We’re encouraged to fake it until we make it. I believe this can be good advice. We can do more than we think, thus the faking. However, we can only fake leadership for so long.

Eventually, you must step up and into your leadership role. You have to choose to lead. 

Stop faking—start leading.

2. Nazi Soldier:

Tell us your story, or die.

One of the Nazi soldiers had a proposition for Indiana Jones. He could tell them his story or he could die.

That’s a pretty big order. 

Indiana Jones knew the truth; he would probably die anyway. However, by telling his story, there was a chance he could survive.

What’s your story? Are you telling your story to the people you lead? 

They want to listen to you. They want to know who you are and why you’re there.

Tell your story to connect with those you lead.

3. Know who’s driving the organization:

Indiana Jones escaped from his current Nazi captors. He leaves the building and hops into the driver’s seat of a vehicle.

While waiting to drive away, two Nazi officers enter the car. They tell Indiana Jones to drive.

The Nazi officers didn’t know who was driving. This was disastrous for those officers as Indiana Jones fled the scene, crashed the car, and the Nazi officers apparently died.

It’s not always the leader who drives the organization. Though many think it is the leader who does.

As a leader, you have to discover who’s driving the organization. It could be Bill on the production floor who has made deep connections with many of the team members. Or it could be Sally in accounting who listens to the woes of the employees.

When you discover who is actually leading the organization, you can help guide it in the way it should go.

4. We often seek fake success:

Indiana Jones had infiltrated the Nazi stronghold to find the Spear of Longinus. This spear was rumored to have pierced the side of Christ.

Wow, that’s a cool artifact. 

The Nazis were transporting it to an unknown location. Indiana Jones had tracked it down and plotted to steal it back.

One problem arose. 

Indiana Jones discovered the Spear of Longinus that the Nazis possessed was not real. It was a forgery. 

He obtained success, but the success wasn’t real.

We chase after fake success. We see what we believe we long to achieve only to discover it brought us no peace, hope, or contentment.

Seek after the right things. Make sure you’re not chasing after something that will leave you empty.

5. Great leaders inspire commitment:

Sallah (John Rhys-Davies) was an old friend of Indiana Jones. You’ve met him if you’ve watched any previous Indiana Jones movie. 

Sallah learned Indiana Jones intended to pursue the Dial of Destiny. He brought Indiana Jones his fedora and bullwhip. He also brought himself.

Sallah told Indiana Jones that he was ready to join his friend for this adventure. He wanted to help the man who had helped him.

This is a great example of how great leaders inspire commitment. When you become a servant leader to others, you win their hearts… their commitment.

Work on helping those you lead. Discover what they need to succeed. Then help them chase it.

The more you help others, the more committed to you they will be.

6. Having too many priorities will lead to disaster:

Dr. Voller (Mads Mikkelsen) was a Nazi scientist Idiana Jones had run-ins with in the past. Worlds collide again when Indiana Jones begins to chase the Dial of Destiny again. Dr. Voller’s desire for the Dial of Destiny is the impetus of the action of this movie.

Helena and her friend Teddy (Ethann Isidore) also wanted the Dial of Destiny. But someone wanted the hand of Helena. That was Rahim (Alaa Safi).

These priorities all collided. 

Teddy and Helena were chasing Dr. Voller. Rahim was pursuing Helena. And then they crashed.

Our organizations require a lot out of us. We are sent chasing multiple priorities. Some of these priorities are legitimate. Others are pet projects.

But what happens when we chase too many of these priorities? We crash.

Learn how to actually set priorities. Know which ones you actually must pursue. Set aside the ones that aren’t truly a priority.

7. Indiana Jones:

I’m thinking…

Helena and Indiana Jones are climbing the Ear of Dionysius. The Ear of Dionysius is a limestone cave carved out of the Temenites hill in the city of Syracuse. Because the cave looked like a human ear, the painter Michelangelo gave it its name.

During their climb, Indiana Jones paused. He stopped his upward momentum. Helena questioned why he stopped.

Indiana Jones answered with, “I’m thinking.”

It seems like an awkward time to stop and think. However, I think Indiana Jones was onto something.

In our most perilous times, we have to pause. We have to take time to think through our actions.

Think about why you’re doing what you’re doing. Think about if what you’re doing is right.

It’s always a good time to pause and think.

8. Not everyone who experiences great adventures deserves it:

Teddy had an idea of how to fly a plane. As Dr. Voller activated the Dial of Destiny, Teddy hotwired a plane and pursued them.

Dr. Voller, along with Indiana Jones and Helena, flies through the crack in time. Teddy follows.

We soon discover another person made it through – the plane’s owner.

Through nothing of his own, he experienced something incredible. He got to go back in time to approximately 213 B.C. during the Siege of Syracuse.

We think everyone has to earn their way. That’s not what happens. 

Many times, there are people who coast through their jobs or experiences. Eventually, they stumble upon something great.

Don’t deny them their experience. Welcome them into it

9. We are in awe of things we don’t understand:

Imagine the soldiers at the Siege of Syracuse when the planes break through the sky. There are these big, giant metal beasts flying through the air.

The soldiers misidentified the planes as dragons. They were fearful but also in awe.

Leadership is difficult to understand. When people see great leaders, they stand in awe. 

Be an example of great leadership. Help people be in awe of what great leaders do.

10. You can’t stay in the past:

Indiana Jones longed to stay in 213 B.C. He loved the idea of seeing history unfold. It would be amazing for an archeologist to see history being made.

Helena knew Indiana Jones couldn’t stay in the past. He would’ve died from the gunshot wound he sustained. More importantly, Indiana Jones would’ve messed with history had he stayed.

For leaders, it’s a different reason we can’t stay in the past.

It’s great to revisit. Looking at history, we learn from others, from ourselves, and from situations that unfold. Learn from those.

It’s dangerous to stay in the past, though. We get trapped in repeating cycles that don’t produce the same results.

Get over the past. Move into the future. Make your present matter.

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