Today’s Reel Leadership article is a blast from the past. The leadership lessons are coming to you from the 2001 dinosaur movie Jurassic Park III.
Jurassic Park III revisits the story of Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill) while introducing Paul Kirby (William H. Macy) and Amanda Kirby (Tea Leoni). The Kirby’s hire Grant to be their tour guide from the sky while they view the island Isla Sorna. Or… that’s what Paul Kirby told Dr. Grant.
Their mission is much different from what they told the good doctor. Their plan is to land on the island and search for their missing son, Eric Kirby (Trevor Morgan).
This changes everything. Dr. Grant wasn’t prepared for this. Neither were the other people on the plane.
With this synopsis, we’re going to dive into the Reel Leadership lessons in Jurassic Park 3. They are plenty. And they are good.
Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Jurassic Park 3
1. Good opportunities can go bad:
The movie opens with a man and a boy on a boat. They’re taking part in the Dino-Saur Parasailing excursion.
Dino-Saur Parasailing isn’t sanctioned by the government. They have to slip in through the cover of cloud, darkness, or some other form of cover.
At the onset, their business sounds great. They’ve found a great opportunity to capitalize on the abandoned Isla Sorna, a land full of recreated dinosaurs.
We soon discover the opportunity goes bad. Fog engulfs the boat while the man and boy are parasailing. The fog dissipates and we see the boat has been ravaged by some ancient creature.
Opportunities are all around us. Some look bad… Others appear to be great.
We tend to seize great opportunities. Yet… I want to warn you to be cautious of what appears to be a great opportunity. These opportunities may look great while hiding the downside.
Make sure you examine what could go wrong. You may find the opportunity isn’t as great as it first appears.
2. Some people won’t listen:
Alan is explaining to a young child, Charlie (Blake Bryan), about the dinosaurs he’s playing with. Charlie had two of the dinosaurs fighting. The two fighting dinosaurs were herbivores.
When Alan explained this to Charlie, Charlie didn’t care. He was having fun playing with his dinosaurs.
We can try to explain situations and consequences to people until we’re blue in the face. We can give them our all… And then won’t listen.
There are people out there who just won’t listen to what you have to say.
You may be an expert in your field; the won’t listen. You may have been there, done that; they won’t listen.
It’s part of life. It’s a part of leadership.
3. Ellie Degler/Slater (Laura Dern):
Let me know if I can help, Alan. You’re bad about asking for help, but please ask me. Anything, anytime
Ellie had been a part of the Jurassic Park journey. She knew Dr. Grant. She knew his propensity to avoid asking for help.
So, she made it clear she was there for him. All he had to do was ask.
How many of us are like Dr. Grant? We need help but we’re bad about asking for help?
My hand is up. I think I see a few of yours as well. At least I am imagining I’m seeing them.
So many of us are bad at asking for help. We struggle through the challenges of leadership all while people are waiting to help.
Let’s stop being Dr. Grants. Let’s start asking for help.
4. Dr. Alan Grant:
My God… I’d forgotten.
Alan Grant made a return trip because of the money the Kirby’s donated. As they were flying to the island, Dr. Grant looks at the dinosaurs. His mind is blown once again.
The dinosaurs were awe-inspiring. They looked so real. They took Grant’s breath away.
We forget the beauty of leadership far too often. We let ourselves get caught up in the day to day we forget to take in what’s awesome about leadership.
It’s time to flip the switch. We need to remind ourselves leadership is a challenge but leadership is awesome.
Stop forgetting. Start remembering.
5. Many people aren’t what they say they are:
Dr. Grant discovers something. The check the Kirby’s wrote wasn’t good. The Kirby’s weren’t rich. They were middle class and trying to get help for their son.
Udesky (Michael Jeter) had claimed to be a mercenary. He wasn’t. Udesky was only a travel agent.
We can take an important leadership lesson away from these discoveries. We can learn that there are people out there who claim to be one thing but they really aren’t. They’re lying.
We have to watch out for these deceivers. They will try to get you to do something you shouldn’t, take your money, or some other deceitful thing.
6. Paul Kirby:
Well what’s the use of hiring an expert if your not going to listen to him?
Amanda is screaming her head off looking for her son Eric. Dr. Grant had already warned her to be quiet. Still, she continued.
Paul warns his wife to stop screaming. She wouldn’t listen to him either.
He tries to talk some sense into her. He asks why did they hire Dr. Grant, the expert, if they weren’t going to listen to him?
Paul’s point was good. They wanted an expert but they didn’t want to listen to him. That’s a problem.
Don’t we do this too? We will hire organizational consultants and they will share their findings. Their findings don’t line up with our preconceived ideas and we dismiss them.
We don’t listen to the expert even though we hired them.
Isn’t this stupid? Isn’t this a waste of money, time, and energy?
It is. We need to listen to the experts we hire. We hired them for a reason.
7. The younger generation can help:
Alan is surrounded by raptors. It looks like he is done for. Then, a smoke grenade is launched in his direction.
The raptors look confused. They begin to scatter. A young boy emerges and helps shuttle Alan to safety.
The young boy is Eric, the Kirby’s son. He’s only 13 years old.
We can get stuck in our old way of thinking. We can see the older generation as the only ones with the answers.
This way of thinking gets us stuck in the past. It gets us in trouble.
Leaders have to make room for the younger generation to help. They are, after all, the next generation of leaders.
Be ready to help these young leaders succeed.
8. We can think our leadership journey is longer than it is:
Eric had been stranded on Isla Sorna for 8 weeks when he found Dr. Grant. The knowledge of this time was a shock to Eric.
He believed he had been on the island much longer. The 8 weeks had dragged on and on. He was in a battle for his life. Time was different for him.
Do you remember when you first started to lead? It may seem like forever ago. Maybe even a different lifetime.
That’s how time works when you’re a leader.
Sometimes it seems like you’ve been leading for an eternity. It seems like you’re never moving forward and the past is there to stay.
Know you’re making progress. You’re moving things forward.
9. Best intentions can get you hurt:
Billy Brennan (Alessandro Nivola) was an assistant to Dr. Grant. He came along to Isla Sorna to help Grant.
While on the island, Billy saw new raptor eggs. He couldn’t help himself and he took a couple of the eggs to bring back to the mainland.
He rationalized this would help the world discover new information about dinosaurs. Instead, it unleashed the fury of the raptors. They wanted their eggs back.
Billy’s good intentions got people hurt.
Our good intentions can get people hurt too. We have to be cautious of what we do with our intentions.
There are times to act on our intentions. We have to if we’re leaders. We also have to watch out for the consequences of those good intentions.
The consequences may not be what we think they’re going to be. We may cause the organization to go bankrupt. Or we may unleash a bug in the software code.
Good intentions don’t mean good things will happen.
I love what Dr. Grant had to say. He said:
Some of the worst things were done with the best of intentions.
10. Be cautious of the things you say:
Dr. Grant was understandably upset with Billy. Billy’s actions caused havoc.
Because of this, Dr. Grant ripped into Billy. He let him know how upset he was. He also told him he was a horrible person.
These were the last words Dr. Grant said to Billy before Billy was taken away by pterodactyls. Dr. Grant was going to have to live with the regret of the words he chose to use.
Our words matter. We have to be cautious and attentive of the things we say. They have weight. They can hurt others.
Let’s be aware of what we’re saying. Let’s make sure they’re not hurtful words.
11. Leadership is dirty:
The Kirby’s and Dr. Grant hear Mr. Kirby’s satellite phone ringing. They begin to frantically search for the phone.
What they discover is that a dinosaur had excavated the satellite phone through its excrement.
There are piles of dinosaur poop in front of them. The crew knew what needed to be done. They began the messy job of searching through the mounds of poop until they find the phone.
I laughed when I saw the team digging through the dinosaur poop. It was ridiculous but it was also something they had to do if they wanted to be rescued.
We have to get dirty. We have to dig through the poop.
If we don’t, we only get to the easy, unsatisfying pieces of leadership. The real work of leadership is in the muck and mire.
Let’s not despise the hard, dirty work leadership requires.