Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins

A Reel Leadership Article

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Snake Eyes is a reboot/refresh of the G.I. Joe movie franchise. The movie reintroduces us to one of the most intriguing characters in the G.I. Joe characters, Snake Eyes (Henry Golden). He has always been mysterious and cool. He was always one of my favorites.

Characters from the movie Snake Eyes

It was exciting to see the movie previews for the Snake Eyes movie because it meant a full movie focused on this great character. The Snake Eyes movie did not disappoint. It gave us a great origins story along with setting up the bitter rivalry between Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow/Tommy (Andrew Koji).

Snake Eyes is full of action. It also contains a lot of character development of Snake Eyes, Tommy, Akiko (Haruka Abe), Kenta (Takehiro Hira), and Scarlett (Samara Weaving). The movie perfectly sets up a sequel for Storm Shadow. It can also lead into another G.I. Joe movie.

Not only that, you know what’s coming next. Snake Eyes is full of leadership lessons. We’re going to dive into those in today’s article.

Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Snake Eyes

1. People listen to what you say:

The movie opens with a young boy (who will become Snake Eyes) and his father (Steven Allerick) on the run. Their motorcycle breaks down and they have to begin walking to their cabin.

The young Snake Eyes (Max Archibald) asks his father if there was a safe in the cabin. His father was confused. He couldn’t figure out why his son would think this.

There was a reason. Young Snake Eyes had heard his father on the phone. His father had mentioned going to a safe house/cabin.

Our words are so important. Our team members are listening. They’re hearing what you have to say.

When they hear what you say, they begin to interpret your words to their own understanding.

People are listening. Make sure they know what you’re saying.

2. Bigger doesn’t mean better:

Snake Eyes joined a cage fighting circuit. He faced off against a giant of a man.

Size-wise, Snake Eyes should have lost. He didn’t. Snake Eyes was able to defeat the bigger opponent.

We think we need to grow our organizations to the largest they can go. The bigger the organization, the better. Or so the train of thought often goes.

Know that larger organizations aren’t always better. They can be slow to react, change, or continue to grow.

Don’t judge your success based on the size of your organization.

3. Tommy:

We value her advice but we don’t have to take it.

Snake Eyes was introduced to Akiko. He wondered who she was.

Tommy told Snake Eyes that Akiko’s voice was valued. He also mentioned that they didn’t have to take her advice.

It was sort of a backhanded compliment. Honestly, Tommy would have been better off if he heeded her advice.

Think about your most trusted confidants. They speak words of life into you. They share their wisdom and insights into business.

You value their advice. Yet, you do not need to take their advice.

You have to evaluate what others share with you. Then you have to choose whether or not to listen.

4. Snake Eyes:

Abandon ego. Selflessness and truthfulness will lead to harmony.

Snake Eyes was taught by Tommy and the rest of the Arashikage ninja clan the above words. He learned to repeat them.

Sadly, Snake Eyes didn’t always practice these words. He was a man in hiding. A snake in the grass.

Yet, the words he was taught are true.

When we abandon our ego, when we are selfless, and when we are truthful, there is a peace that comes into our lives. We can begin to live in harmony with the world, those we lead, and ourselves.

5. Be a giving leader:

Snake Eyes had to face multiple trials to enter into the Arashikage ninja clan. One of those trials was to obtain a bowl of water from Hard Master (Iko Uwais). More than obtain the bowl of water, Snake Eyes had to do this without spilling a drop of water.

He tried to get the bowl from Hard Master 3 times. Each time he spilled water. On his final attempt, he became a giver. Snake Eyes peacefully gave his bowl to Hard Master in exchange for Hard Master’s bowl.

This allowed him to get the bowl without dropping any water.

Leaders have to be giving leaders. They have to learn how to exchange the things that they have for the things that they need.

Stop trying to get everything for yourself. When you give, you can get.

6. Tommy:

True power calls for discipline.

Tommy knew this leadership principle. He practiced it throughout the movie, until the end.

Leaders hold a lot of power. They control the destiny of their team’s careers. They hold lives in the balance.

You have a lot of power.

Your power has to be tempered with discipline. Discipline helps you control yourself in the tough, difficult situations where you will be challenged to do the right thing.

Learn discipline, lead well.

7. You can lose track of your purpose:

Blind Master (Peter Mensah) held the next trial Snake Eyes would have to face. He released a glowing ball of light. Snake Eyes had to follow the ball of light. He did this until it flew into a swirling mass of other balls of light.

It is easy to lose sight of your purpose with so much going on. It can appear to intermix with other important tasks.

With your purpose, though, I want to encourage you to not lose track of it. Keep your purpose front and center.

8. Sen (Eri Ishida):

Your honesty wins you your life.

Snake Eyes had been dishonest with the Arashikage clan. He hadn’t been there to help them. He had been there to seek vengeance against his father’s killer.

To get vengeance, he had been working with the Yakuza leader Kenta (Takehiro Hira), a sworn enemy of the Arashikage clan.

Snake Eyes was finally honest with what he was doing. Sen, the clan leader, granted him his life but told him he would no longer be able to be a part of the clan.

Honesty is great. It clears the air and lets the truth be known. Be honest.

However, when you’re dishonest, your eventual honesty only gets you so much. You still have to pay for the consequences of your dishonesty.

9. Bad leaders do not fulfill their promises:

Baroness (Úrsula Corberó), of Cobra, had made a deal with Kenta. She believed she and Cobra had fulfilled their side of the bargain.

Kenta knew they had. But he wasn’t going to give up the jewel she helped them obtain.

He broke his promise and knocked Baroness down so he could keep the jewel.

Bad leaders do not keep their promises. They will say what they believe you want to hear so they can get what they want.

Beware of leaders who always promise you what you desire. They will eventually not give it to you.

10. Scarlett:

We all make mistakes. It’s what we do next that matters.

Scarlett knows Snake Eyes’ mistakes. She’s heard them, seen them, and lived through them.

Still, she knows everyone makes mistakes. She tries to help Snake Eyes realize there is more to him than his mistakes. What matters now is what he does next.

We all make mistakes. We choose the wrong path. We say the wrong thing. We hire the wrong person.

They’re mistakes. We make them.

The thing that matters is what you do after you make a mistake. You can choose to keep making them or to learn and grow from them.

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