Kids and adults alike will love the new animated movie Paws Of Fury: The Legend Of Hank. If you remember the classic 1974 movie Blazing Saddles, you’ll find similarities between the two movies.
Paws Of Fury: The Legend Of Hank is loosely based on that classic Mel Brooks film. It’s a cuddlier, cuter version that even pays tribute to the film with a Blazing Samarai text overlay during the movie.
What is Paws Of Fury: The Legend Of Hank? A town (Kakamucho) full of cats finds itself in need of a hero. Their previous samurai had skedaddled at the first sign of trouble.
The evil ruler Ika Chu (Ricky Gervais) had sent one of his generals, Ohga (George Takei), to wipe out the town. Why? Because the town was an eye-sore and Ika Chu wanted a beautiful view for the visiting Shogun (Mel Brooks).
This leads to laughs, maybe some tears, and a good movie. This plot also lends itself to some great leadership lessons. Today’s Reel Leadership article will examine the leadership lessons in Paws Of Fury: The Legend Of Hank.
Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Paws Of Fury: The Legend Of Hank
1. Ika Chu:
I give you orders. You give me facts.
Ika Chu wanted to destroy the city of Kakmucho. The Shogun was visiting. Nothing would be better than a beautiful view from his city.
Ika Chu issues the order to destroy Kakamucho to Ohga. Ohga tells Ika Chu the city has been there for thousands of years.
Ika Chu didn’t like this. He wanted Ohga to back up his ideas, not give him facts.
If you’ve seen Paws Of Fury, you know Ika Chu is a horrible leader. The traits he displays are traits you do not want to have.
One of those traits was wanting people to go along with what he said and not what the facts showed.
You have got to be careful. You cannot let your feelings or desires cloud the facts in front of you.
2. Bad leaders run:
Ika Chu sent a band of ninjas to Kakamucho. Kakamucho had a samurai to defend the town.
Well, at least until trouble showed up.
The samurai high-tailed it out of the town. He left as soon as trouble showed up.
Don’t be the samurai of Kakamucho. Don’t run when trouble shows up.
Instead, choose to stand tall. Find a way to overcome.
3. The message will get lost in translation:
The Shogun sent a message to Ika Chu. He didn’t have a telephone line to call up Ika Chu. Instead, he used a string of cats to send the message.
The cats looked like a line of kids playing telephone. The results were the same.
As the cats transferred the message down the line, the message changed—even the name of Ika Chu. At one point, one of the cats called him Pikachu, as in the cute yellow Pokemon.
Remember, the further down the line your message goes, the more that will get lost in translation.
Communicate with people directly. Direct communication will help your message be true to your original intent.
4. Not all leaders will be welcome initially:
Ika Chu had held Hank (Michael Cera) prisoner. Dogs were not allowed in cat cities.
To rid himself of Hank, he sent Hank to Kakamucho to replace the samurai he had already run out of town. Ika Chu knew the town would be against Hank. He was hoping the town would kill the dog.
The townsfolk initially cheered on the new samurai. They see him arriving.
Emiko (Kylie Kuioka), a young cat, sees something strange. She announces Hank is a DOG.
Then they turn.
Eventually, Hank wins over the town. He becomes their samurai.
Remember, you won’t always be welcome as a leader. People will look at you with disdain, disgust, and contempt.
You may have to win over the people you lead. You can.
I gotta get some samurai training.
Jimbo (Samuel L. Jackson):
Sounds like you need a mentor.
Cat ninjas beat Hank. He was feeling down and out about his ability to be a samurai. This was when Paws Of Fury had a great Jimbo quote.
Jimbo told Hank that Hank needed a mentor. Yes, a mentor!
Guess what? You need a mentor as well.
You need someone who will help you with your questions. You will need someone to push you further than you think you can go. And you need someone who will share what they’ve learned.
Find a mentor. There are plenty of people out there willing to be a mentor to you.
Lesson one, it is not so important what you do, as it is important that you do something.
Jimbo agreed to mentor Hank. He had a list of lessons. The first was the above quote.
Jimbo knew that samurai have to be men of action. They cannot dawdle when there is a need.
Leaders cannot dawdle either. They have to be willing to do something.
There will be times when you don’t know what to do. You’ll struggle to make a decision.
Know that it is okay for you to take action even if it is not the right action. You can always course correct once you’re in motion.
You wanted to be a samurai. Fun, isn’t it?
Hank had to fight a Sumo (Djimon Hounsou). The Sumo beat him up good.
Jimbo shows up. He assists Hank but he also gives him a word of advice.
Being a samurai isn’t all fun and games. There are struggles and pain.
Guess what! Leadership isn’t all fun and games either.
You’re going to get beat up emotionally and mentally. You have to be ready for when these times come.
Sure, you’ll have fun. You’ll also have trouble. It’s all good.
I failed to teach. You failed to learn.
Hank believed he had won the fight against the Sumo. He hadn’t. Jimbo had used the Sumo’s weakness (edamame allergies) to take him down.
Jimbo saw his teaching as a failure. Hank had left his post only to return to a destroyed town.
Failure in leadership can be a two-way street. The leader fails to prepare their team. The team fails to perform.
Yet, in the end, the failure lies with the leader.
It will always remind you of who you are.
Hank left Kakamucho feeling defeated. He set his bag on the ground as something tumbled out of the bag.
There was a blue origami samurai dog. The piece of origami had come from Emiko.
She had given him the origami samurai dog to remind him of who he was and was becoming. When Hank saw the origami, Emiko’s words rang through his head.
This is an excellent reminder that leaders need to have something with them that can remind them that they are leaders. We can quickly get into a mind-funk where we lose sight of who we are.
Our reminder may be a kind letter from a previous employee, a plaque that an organization gave us, or some other sort of reminder. These reminders will pull us out of those funks and focus our attention on what needs to be done.
10. Relationships empower people:
After the invasion of Kakamucho, Ika Chu had his ninja cats reclaim Sumo. Hank went to rescue Sumo. He also had a message for him.
Hank told Sumo he had to help rescue him. They were friends, after all.
With those words, we see Sumo become empowered. He broke the chains holding him to the wall. He also broke through the remaining portion of the door.
Positive relationships empower those you lead. When the people you lead realize you’re with them and for them, you give them power beyond belief.
Form positive relationships with your team. You’ll see a switch flip and great power unleashed.
11. Our shameful stories are often not as disgraceful as we believe them to be:
Jimbo had gone into hiding and renounced his title as samurai early in the film. By the end of the film, we see his reasoning was incorrect.
Jimbo believed he had shamed his master, Koshi (The Shogun). Jimbo had attacked what he thought was a surprise attack on Koshi.
What really happened? There was a surprise birthday party.
For years, Jimbo lived with the guilt and shame of ruining the birthday party. When Koshi and Jimbo are reunited, Koshi tells Jimbo that it was his best birthday party ever.
The two cats had seen the same event entirely differently. One was of a great day. The other was one of shame and mistakes.
Get perspective on your mistakes. Make sure they are actually mistakes before you beat yourself up over them.
You may come to discover your “mistake” was actually something magical.