Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Spy Kids

A Reel Leadership Article

It’s hard to believe the movie Spy Kids is 20 years old. It’s a fun children’s movie with plenty of potential.

We see that potential in all of the sequels and semi-spin-off movies. Not only did director Robert Rodriguez produce four Spy Kids films, he also spun off the Machete (Danny Trejo) character into two movies. It’s also said that all of the Spy Kids movies are in the same universe as the other Rodriguez films. Crazy?!?

Spy Kids tells the story of the Cortez family. The parents, Gregorio (Antonio Banderas) and Ingrid (Carla Gugino), appear to be boring. Or so their children believe. However, Gregorio and Ingrid have a secret. They are spies!

Cast of Spy Kids striking a pose

Their children, Juni (Daryl Sabara) and Carmen (Alex PenaVega), come across as spoiled brats. They’re nagging at each other. They’re lying to their parents. It’s a nightmare!

Yet, somehow, through the trials, they become closer to their parents and become spies themselves!

It’s a great film to watch with your children. There are plenty of lessons in it for them. There are also plenty of leadership lessons in Spy Kids. Let’s look at those lessons today.

Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Spy Kids

1. By yourself, you can be dangerous. Together, with others, you are a force to be reckoned with:

Gregorio and Ingrid were spies. They were actually spies on the opposite side of the fence. You could say they were enemies.

Separate, they were dangerous. They knew how to do their job. Yet, when they fell in love, something happened. They became a force to be reckoned with.

This reminded me of the Bible verse Ecclesiastes 4:12 – Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

It’s the same truth for leaders. As we come around other leaders, as we build each other up, we become a force to be reckoned with.

No longer are we a singular threat. We are stronger. We are better.

2. Ingrid:

They’re keeping secrets from us, Gregorio. And I think it’s our fault. They’ve gotten it from us.

Ingrid was talking to her husband about their children. She had discovered their kids had been lying to them.

However, she didn’t blame their children. She focused inward. She looked at what they had been doing.

Gregorio and Ingrid had been lying. Their children were following suit.

When you are having struggles with your team, reflect inward. Take a look at yourself and the leaders in your organization.

You may notice your team members are reflecting your actions.

Reflect first before you react. Make sure you’re not the cause of the bad behavior.

3. Carmen:

My parents can’t be spies! They’re not cool enough.

Carmen discovered that her parents were spies. She freaked out. She couldn’t see how this was possible.

Her parents weren’t cool. They were ordinary parents. There was nothing exciting about them.

But oh there was!

We can fall into the trap of thinking that leaders have to be these exciting personalities. They have to be the life of the show.

Leaders don’t. They are everyday people doing everyday things.

Be prepared for ordinary leaders.

4. Outward appearances are often deceiving:

Carmen and Juni were sent to their parents’ safe house. It was a shack on an island.

The safe house looked like an outhouse. It didn’t look like anything special.

However, once they went inside, the safe house was full of amazing spy gadgetry. It really was a safe house!

We let outward appearances dictate what we think and feel about people. If they’re not well dressed or clean-cut, we can dismiss them.

Let’s get rid of those preconceived notions. People are more than their outward appearance. They have much more to give.

Get beyond their looks!

5. Carmen:

A good spy uses his head.

Carmen was reading one of the spy books in the safe house. The book was titled How To Be A Spy.

This line stuck out. Good spies use their heads.

Great leaders also use their heads. They think through the situations they face.

Never stop thinking through situations. Never stop trying to stretch your knowledge.

6. Beware of fakes:

While at the safe house, the kids receive a visitor. The visitor is Ms. Gradenko (Teri Hatcher).

She tells the kids that she was with the spies. She was there to help.

In reality, she was a henchman (or is it henchwoman) or Fegan Floop (Alan Cumming).

We have to watch out for fakes as we lead. This could be people who proclaim to know what they’re doing. It could also be people claiming to be leaders when they’re not.

Make sure you’re vetting your sources. Or you could run into a Ms. Gradenko scenario!

7. Remember your big goal:

Floop was a partial villain in Spy Kids. The big bad guy turned out to be Alexander Minion (Tony Shalhoub) working with Mr. Lisp (Robert Patrick).

Floop was concerned about his show’s ratings. He struggled to get to the number one spot. Minion stepped in to remind him of the true goal. The true goal was an army of robot children.

What’s your ultimate goal? What’s the goal of the organization you lead? Do they align?

Make sure you remember the big goal of the organization. It’s what’s important.

8. Words of kindness change hearts:

Floop had been exiled to the Virtual Room. Juni went in the room as well.

There, Juni talked with Floop. He told Floop that he thought Floop was a genius.

This helped change Floop’s heart. He began to look for ways to help the Cortez’s and foil Mr. Lisp’s plans.

When’s the last time you spoke kindly to someone that wronged you? It’s time you do so.

In speaking kindness, you change hearts. They will soften to you.

Be willing to be kind.

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