Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Scooby-Doo: The Movie

A Reel Leadership Article

My latest book, Reel Leadership, is now available on Amazon. If you love movies and leadership, you will love this book.

Scooby-Doo! Where are you?!?

It’s a phrase young and old have heard for generations. Scooby-Doo has been a part of our culture since 1969.

In 2002, the live-action Scooby-Doo movie (get your copy here), directed by Raja Gosnell and screenplay by James Gunn, was released. It starred Matthew Lillard as Shaggy, Freddie Prinze Jr. as Freddie, Sarah Michelle Gellar as Daphne, Linda Cardellini as Velma, and Neil Fanning as the voice of Scooby.

While not the greatest movie in the world, Scooby-Doo is a fun and entertaining film. It captures the heart and feel of the original animated series while bringing it to life.

Shaggy, Velma, Daphne, Fred, and Shaggy in the 2002 Scooby-Doo movie

Even better, you can watch this new classic during the Halloween spooky season. That’s what I did and I encourage you to give it a go during this month.

More than the laughs, there are leadership lessons in Scooby-Doo. In this article, we look at those lessons so we can grow our leadership!

Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Scooby-Doo

1. You can recover when plans don’t go your way:

The movie opens with the Luna Ghost capturing Daphne. Velma is trying to explain her plan. Only her plan doesn’t go as she thought it would.

Scooby and Shaggy can’t run away from the Luna Ghost because they’re on slick ground. Fred is lugging a firehose but runs into the barrel Shaggy and Scooby are in.

It was a plan that failed.

Yet, Mystery Inc (the team’s name) still succeeded. They were able to capture the Luna Ghost after their mishaps.

Mike Tyson, the famous boxer, once said:

Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.

That’s the truth. Mystery Inc had a plan. Then they got hit in the mouth. They had to adapt and change.

We get punched in the mouth, too. Our plan doesn’t go as we desired. Something changes, someone doesn’t follow through. The plan is a mess.

We have to roll with these punches. We have to alter our plans and figure out what to do next.

Know that you can recover when plans don’t go your way.

2. Bad leaders take the credit:

After stopping the Luna Ghost, Fred is asked his secret to success. Without missing a beat, Fred shares how teamwork and his plan led to the criminal’s capture.

The truth was that Fred didn’t have a plan. The plan came from Velma. And teamwork? What teamwork?!?

Fred took the credit. He didn’t share the credit with his team. They were disappointed, especially Velma.

You may be the leader, but you’re not the one who deserves credit. Your team carried out the plan; they may have even devised the plan.

The best leaders don’t take credit. They find ways to praise their team, encourage them by giving them the credit, and working well with their team.

Be that kind of leader.

3. Leaders who fake it look fake:

Mystery Inc. split after the capture of the Luna Ghost. The struggles of working together were too much.

Until the team was approached by Emile Mondavarious’s (Rowan Atkinson) assistant. Each team member was brought back into the fray.

Arriving on Spooky Island, Emile was there to greet them.

Each member of Mystery Inc thought Emile would look spooky. He didn’t. He tried his best to look spooky, though.

His attempt was a failure. He looked goofy, not scary.

There’s a lot of talk about leaders needing to fake it until they make it. There’s some truth to that. You have to do things you don’t know how to do. This doesn’t make you a fake. This means you’re learning.

When leaders try to fake appreciation, relationships, or care, that’s when they look fake. You can’t fake those things forever.

Make sure you’re not a fake leader.

4. Emile Mondavarious:

That’s the beauty of something broken. It can be fixed.

While Emile turns out not to be Emile, his words when the team first meet are great. They’re something leaders can learn from.

Velma had mentioned Mystery Inc had broken up. They hadn’t been a team for two years. Emile encouraged them.

He told the team that broken things could be fixed. Don’t give up!

Your organization will have broken things. Broken people, broken systems, broken policies.

There’s beauty in the brokenness. You can help to fix the broken things.

Don’t let the broken things scare you off.

5. Leaders cannot avoid scary issues:

Scooby-Doo had been lured into the dark woods by a mystery caller. He was told there would be hamburgers waiting for him.

What does Scooby-Doo do? He rushes into the woods. He wants the food!

I can’t blame him. I get hungry too. However, this leads Scooby-Doo into a trap.

Signs are pointing to the free hamburgers. Scooby-Doo gets to a bag that’s supposed to contain the scrumptious food. Only the bag is empty, and Scooby-Doo covers his head with the bag.

When the bag is removed, there’s a monster staring at him. Scooby-Doo quickly puts the bag back over his head. He went back to hiding.

Leaders need to face the issues their organizations are facing. They cannot hide their head in the sand or cover their eyes to avoid the problem.

Great leaders know they have to be brave. They have to deal with the tough issues.

6. Shaggy:

We do what we do best – EAT!

Scooby and Shaggy explored Spooky Island Castle looking for clues. They soon come upon a buffet table full of food.

This wasn’t ordinary food. The food trapped them against one of the castle walls. The duo wondered what they could do.

Then, Shaggy came up with the idea to do what they do best. They had to eat the food!

What do you do best? Are you doing it?

Make sure you’re doing what you do best. It’ll serve you well. You will thrive when you do what you do best.

7. Great leaders do not demand respect, they earn it:

There’s a flashback to Mystery Inc inside their 1978 Volkswagen LT 40 Mystery Machine. We see the gang and then an additional member, Scrappy (Scott Innes).

He’s not with them in the future. This scene shows what happened to him.

Scrappy was obnoxious. He peed on Daphne to assert his dominance. He demanded to be named leader of Mystery Inc.

Ugh… Those types of people drive me nuts. They drive other people nuts too.

Great leaders know they can’t demand respect. They cannot assert dominance.

Instead, great leaders earn the respect given to them. They do this by serving others, treating people with respect, and caring for their team.

Do these things and you’ll be one step closer to being a great leader.

8. Good leaders listen to their people:

Shaggy quickly fell for Mary Jane (Isla Fisher). She was an attractive blonde who took the place of Scooby.

As Scooby-Doo and Shaggy flee on a set of four-wheelers, Shaggy picks up Mary Jane. Mary Jane is hit in the face with a tree branch that hangs low.

Her face distorts. She looks like a man for a split second. Scooby-Doo sees this.

He brings his concern to Shaggy. Shaggy doesn’t listen. He couldn’t believe his beautiful girl was anything but that.

But, she was possessed. Her face did turn into that of a man.

Ruh-roh, Raggy!

Our people see things we do not see. We’re not in the deep all of the time. Our people are.

Listen to them. If your team brings a concern to you, it’s probably accurate.

Address their issues. Make sure you consider what they say.

9. You’ll face new and everchanging issues:

Mystery Inc. had only faced fake threats. The ghouls, ghosts, and mysteries they dealt with could all be explained away.

This time was different. The threat was supernatural. Their tactics had to change.

You’ll face new threats. They may seem similar to threats you’ve faced in the past but with a twist.

These threats and issues will require you to change up how you do things. Be willing to adjust your leadership style to the issues at hand.

10. Bad leaders can change:

After defeating the ghouls of Spooky Island, a different reporter approached Fred. She asked him how he solved the case.

Fred almost made the same mistake as before. He began to talk about his book, leaving his team in the cold.

Then, a lightbulb went off. Fred couldn’t do that to his team.

His demeanor changed. He told the reporter to let Velma answer the question. She did.

You may have made mistakes in the past with the way you lead. You don’t have to continue down that path.

You can change. You can become a better leader.

When you realize you’re heading down the same old path, course correct. You can do this!

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