Quotes And Leadership Lessons From John Wick: Chapter 4

A Reel Leadership Article

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It’s been a long four years since John Wick: Chapter 3 was released. We’ve faced a pandemic together. John Wick: Chapter 4 was delayed. We know it was supposed to be a celebration of Keanu Reeves. May 21st, 2021 would have seen the release of The Matrix 4 and John Wick: Chapter 4 on the same day. Sadly, this wasn’t the case, and we had to wait quite some time before Chapter 4 of John Wick was released.

That happened recently. Most of us weren’t disappointed.

John Wick: Chapter 4 brings back the character Reeves had made popular. The action movie is once again packed with guns, violence, and extreme action.

Keaunu Reeves as John Wick. Standing in the rain.

This entry into the John Wick series sees Wick coming back from his near-death experience in Chapter 3. He’s now found a way to get to the High Table. He has plans to obtain his freedom and be rid of the organization that has threatened his life time and again.

This movie is a thrill ride you won’t want to get off. Sadly, like all movies, it has to have an end. And that ending is powerful.

Be prepared. You might shed a few tears by the time the movie ends. It’s worth it, though. Just like leadership.

Which you’ll find plenty of examples of in John Wick: Chapter 4. Let’s dive into those leadership lessons.

Quotes And Leadership Lessons From John Wick: Chapter 4

1. Bowery King (Laurence Fishburne):

Are you ready?

The film opens with a man punching a board. The board is wrapped and soaked in blood. Again, again, again… The man hits the board.

Bowery King walks in with John Wick’s trademark suit. He asks the man, “Are you ready?”

That man turns out to be John Wick. He’s been training his body to endure more and more since his fall off of the High Table’s building in Chapter 3.

That’s the question I want you to consider… Are you ready? Are you ready:

  • To take the hits that come as a leader
  • To lead others to a place they’ve never been
  • To discover new paths and ideas
  • To seek the truth
  • To uphold what is true and right

While I can ask you that, more importantly, you have to ask yourself. When these come from you, and you answer, you are ready to lead.

2. There will always be someone with more authority than you:

The Marquis (Bill Skarsgård) goes to the Continental Hotel. This is the hotel we’ve seen in the other three John Wick movies. It’s the one run by Winston (Ian McShane).

There’s a reason behind Marquis’ visit. He’s there to shut it down.

Winston and Concierge Charon (Lance Reddick in one of his final roles) are brought into an office and given one hour to clear out the hotel. Once the hour is up, it will be destroyed.

Charon stands there and asks Marquis if the High Table can do this. They could.

There was someone with more authority than Winston.

While we rise up the ranks of leadership, we can forget that there’s always someone with more authority than us. There’s always someone above the leader, even if you don’t know it.

There are directors of the board, other leaders, and, ultimately, God. There’s always going to be someone who has more authority than you. Be aware of this.

3. Charon:

It has been an honor my friend.

No one working on the movie realized just how touching and emotional this next scene would be. Charon is shot and killed.

As he’s lying in a pool of blood, he looks at his friend Winston. Charon tells him that it has been an honor working for him.

Talk about heartstrings.

Due to Reddick’s untimely death, this scene hit hard. But his last scene in the movie shows us something.

Great leaders earn the respect of their team. By leading well, people see their work for you as an honor. It’s not a burden. It is an honor.

Are you leading in such a manner that people would be willing to say it was an honor to work for you?

4. Koji Shimazu (Hiroyuki Sanada):

Have you given any thought as to where this ends?

Koji was the manager of the Osaka Continental. John Wick took shelter there. He meets with his old friend, Koji, and they have a heart-to-heart.

Koji knew the brutality of the Table. They would stop at nothing to have John Wick’s head. They would burn the world down.

Did John consider this? That’s what Koji wanted to know.

Do you ever stop to consider where your leadership journey and actions end? We need to have an action plan to exit out of leadership; it will most likely not be when we die.

Start considering your leadership transition. Who can take your place? How can you train up a replacement? Are you willing to leave willingly?

All of these questions come into play. They also help you make a transition out of your leadership position. It may be to a different organization, freelancing, or retirement.

Consider how things will end.

5. Notify people when things change:

In the other John Wick movies, a contract had been placed on his life. The same happens in this movie.

A radio DJ (Marie Pierra Kakoma) sends a coded message via a radio station. She states the contract amount, target, and deadline. Everything an assassin needed to know was communicated through the transmission.

Even the change in the contract amount. It went to $20 million!

Organizations suffer when communication is lacking. Changes are made with no communication of the change.

The people who are affected by the change have no clue anything has changed. They believe it is business as usual.

Until a leader asks why things are still the same.

It’s about communication, people! Communicate. Let people know when things change.

6. Leaders help even when they themselves are hurt:

Akira (Rina Sawayama) is Koji’s daughter. She was his concierge at the hotel when the High Table came to shut them down.

In the bloodshed and chaos that ensued, she was shot.

Koji came to her aid. He began to move Akira to safety. Unfortunately, they ran into the blind assassin Caine (Donnie Yen).

Koji let his daughter down. He told her to get away while he fought Caine.

This is when she and the audience discovers Koji has been gravely injured. Yet, he still helped his daughter escape danger.

We all know of people who have been injured while leading. Maybe one of those people is you.

Your ego has been bruised. Or you’ve lost a good friend. Maybe it’s a disagreement with a trusted advisor. Something has happened, and you’ve been hurt.

So have many of your people. They’ve been hurt by customers, coworkers, and even you!

You have to put aside your pain and help those you’ve been entrusted with. Help them, then take care of yourself.

7. Beware of cheats:

John Wick had been made aware there was a rule that he could challenge the Marquis to a duel. This could only happen if he were a member of one of the families.

He had been previously. He went to his family and asked to be readmitted. They were hesitant but offered a solution.

If John Wick could take out Killa (Scott Adkins). He’s a giant man in a purple suit. He stands out!

Killa had murdered one of the members of John Wick’s family. To get revenge, they wanted him dead.

Of course, John Wick agrees. He goes to Germany, where he encounters Killa. There, he offers up a game of Five Card Draw.

There are two other players at the table. Caine and Tracker/Nobody (Shamier Anderson).

They play their cards. Each one has a decent hand. Eventually, Killa lays down his hand.

He has five of a kind.


That’s not right. There are only four suits in a deck of cards and five cards. Where did the fifth suited card come from?

Killa cheated.

Cheaters are dangerous to your organization. They take problems and make them bigger than they should be by trying to bend the rules, creative financials, and more.

Beware of cheats. They won’t only take themselves down. They’ll take you down as well.

8. Playing to ego can get what you want:

Winston presented the idea of the duel to Marquis. He wasn’t keen on taking the challenge. He was all about new rules, new times, and changing how things were done.

This put Winston in a quandary. A quandary that he could get around.

Winston knew Marquis had an ego. So, he played to that. He told Marquis that taking John Wick’s offer of the duel would boost his status.

Challenge accepted!

Our egos are our greatest enemy. There are so many ways that they can be used to manipulate us into doing things we know we shouldn’t do.

The same applies to our competition.

If need be, play to your competition’s ego. Find out what drives them, then offer them that.

Their ego will take over. You’ll get your chance.

9. Decide what you want your life to be about:

Charon was dead. He was one of Winston’s most trusted employees. Because of this, Winston had to decide what to put on Charon’s headstone.

So many things could have summed up Charon’s life. Winston thought one word would suffice: friend.

John Wick was there. He said he’d want “loving husband” to be on his headstone.

What do you want your life to be about? Do you want it to be about the businesses you built, titles you’ve obtained, or your status? Or, maybe, you want something else. Perhaps you want to be remembered as John Wick or Charon…

Their headstone had nothing to do with their line of business. The saying on their headstone was about who they were. Charon, a friend. Wick, a loving husband.

Figure out what your life is about. Then start living it so people will remember you in that light.

10. Know the rules:

The duel would happen. It would be between John Wick and Caine. They would walk 30 paces, turn, and shoot. If neither died, they would take 10 paces, turn, and shoot again. This would continue until one or both parties had died.

On the first shot, both were hit. Neither died. They took the following 10 paces, shot again. Both were hit again but not fatally.

They took another 10 paces and shot. John Wick fell. Marquis believed John Wick was dead and defeated.

He approached John Wick. That’s when John Wick sat up, fired his gun, and killed Marquis.

John Wick hadn’t taken his shot. The rules stated that both men had to shoot. They didn’t specify when.

This allowed John Wick to take out Marquis.

Every business and organization has different rules. It pays to know the rules of the organization.

Learn the ins and outs of your business. You even need to learn the rules of the type of business you’re in.

The more aware of the rules you are, the more you can do. Know the rules and thrive in business.

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