Quotes And Leadership Lessons From The 355

A Reel Leadership Article

When you think of great spy movies, we have a great lineup of movies featuring men. From James Bond to Jason Bourne, most spy movies are geared towards men.

Every so often, we do get a female-led spy movie such as Charlie’s Angels or Red Sparrow. However, most of these female-led spy movies don’t have staying power.

This led me to be excited to see the new spy movie The 355.

Female cast of The 355

355 is the codename for an unnamed female spy during the American Revolution. The name, apparently, continued to be passed down and we eventually got a movie using the codename.

I wish I could say The 355 will have the staying power of a James Bond or a Jason Bourne. Sadly, I don’t think it will.

This doesn’t mean it’s not worth a watch. The movie was fun. It also, more importantly, contains plenty of leadership lessons.

These are what we will discuss today in this Reel Leadership article.

Quotes And Leadership Lessons From The 355

1. Colombian drug lord:

He convinced me this is the new drug: technology.

A Colombian drug lord tells the buyer that he knows of a new drug in a covert deal. The new drug is technology.

He makes a convincing case.

We can see technology becoming a new drug in our world as well. Technology is entrenched in our lives, from the addicting screens we carry in our pockets to the tremendous power behind the blockchain and cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.

We need to be careful not to become consumed with technology. It is great. We will see it continue to do things we never imagined. Yet, we cannot become a slave to the technology in our lives.

2. We can have the wrong target:

Mace, Mason Browne (Jessica Chastain) and Nick Fowler (Sebastian Stan) are at a coffee house for a meet. Mace spilled coffee on the two other people at the meet.

They saw an opportunity to spill and grab. They grabbed the bag the two others had brought during the distraction and ran.

What was in the bag? Not what they desired. They had the wrong target.

We can become laser-focused on what is in front of us. We believe it is the target, the end goal. However, when we get what we had our eyes set on, we discover we were chasing the wrong thing. We had the wrong target.

Make sure you’re going after what is right, true, and just.

3. Jonas Groth (Sylvester Groth):

You need to learn to trust.

Marie Schmidt (Diane Kruger) was an agent who struggled to trust others. She’d been betrayed in the past. She felt she would be betrayed in the future as well.

This made trusting extremely difficult for her.

Does anyone else feel like Marie? I know I do at times.

It can be hard to trust. Whether it is trusting those above us, beside us, or beneath us. Trust isn’t something people usually give easily.

I think we need to be more trusting. We have to learn to expect the best in those around us.

If we cannot, we will become cynical.

4. Give people a reason to join you:

Khadijah Adiyeme (Lupita Nyong’o) was a friend of Mason’s. She had worked with her.

Mason went to recruit Khadijah to her cause. She needed the help and thought she would be the perfect partner.

What happened? Khadijah turned her down… Multiple times.

Until Mason tells her that Nick is dead. This changed Khadijah’s answer. She said yes.

What reason are you giving people to join your cause? Is the WHY you’re giving something they can get behind.

Look at the reasons you give to your employees. Does it resonate with them? Is it all about money? Or is it a more profound purpose?

When you give purpose to your people, they will sign up. Give them purpose in their work.

5. Graciela Rivera (Penélope Cruz):

I do not feel safe.

Graciela was brought to a safe her. There, she was told she would be safe.

The ironic part? Graciela felt anything but safe.

The word of the person did nothing to assure her.

We can tell our people that they’re safe in their position or that we care for them until we’re blue in the face. They won’t feel it.


We actually live out what we say. We have to make sure we’re backing up what we tell our people. Without that feeling of trust, they won’t believe us.

6. Great leaders know the power in community:

Khadijah, Mason, and Marie all wanted the same thing. They wanted the drive that was missing and revenge.

With this combined mission, the trio joined forces. They knew there was power in a team, in a community.

Do you have a community behind you? Do you have people standing in your corner?

Every great leader has a community around them of other solid and influential leaders.

These leaders hold one another accountable. They help give advice when needed.

They become a band of brothers (or sisters).

7. Marie:

Good. Only an idiot isn’t scared.

Graciela admitted she was scared. Then Marie stepped up as a leader.

Marie told Graciela it was good that she was scared. Only an idiot isn’t scared.

We can try to be as stoic as possible. We can try to let things roll off us like water.

The truth is it’s okay to be scared. There are times when you need to be. There are times when you’re going to find yourself shaking in your boots.

Be scared. But still take action.

8. Sharing experiences bonds people:

Mason, Marie, and Khadijah all had different experiences of their first spy experience. Each one took their turn sharing their story.

Then Graciella shared hers.

This sharing bonded the four women. They felt like they all had something in common.

We need to be more open about our experiences. Our experiences are more common than we think.

Sure, the major details are different but our experiences can be similar.

Share your experiences with those you lead. Allow them to share theirs.

9. Marie:

When you live a life of lies, it’s hard to know what’s true and what isn’t.

Mason had a dream. No, a nightmare. She awoke from the dream startled.

Marie shared an experience she had once had. She let Mason know that living a life of lies is difficult. You’ll begin to wonder what is really true and what is not.

Leaders, we cannot live a life of lies. We have to live a life of truth.

It’s much easier to remember the truth than a lie. It’s much easier to trust when we are trustworthy. It’s much easier to know the truth when we’re truthful.

10. You may not get the recognition you think you deserve:

The 355 women saved the world. They were able to recover and destroy the device.


The world didn’t know the 355 saved the world. In fact, the world never knew anything was wrong.

Isn’t that a bummer?

Leading doesn’t require getting the credit. Leading requires us to do what is right regardless of whether or not we get recognized.

Lead. Lead well. Even if you don’t get the credit.

If you enjoyed this Reel Leadership article, you may enjoy our collection of Reel Leadership articles eBook. You can get this eBook for free by signing up for updates by clicking here.
Follow Me

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.