Quotes And Leadership Lessons From The Cloverfield Paradox

During a Superbowl 52 commercial, viewers were treated to a surprise. Netflix released the trailer for the Netflix original movie The Cloverfield Paradox. And a release date: February 4th, 2018… The same night of the Superbowl and the same night the ad aired.

Whoa! Minds were blown and people were ready to watch the next chapter of the Cloverfield multiverse release. How would The Cloverfield Paradox tie into Cloverfield and 10 Cloverfield Lane? You would have to go to Netflix to find out.

Quotes and leadership lessons from The Cloverfield Paradox

The Cloverfield Paradox

The Cloverfield Paradox takes place before the original J.J. Abrams’ Cloverfield movie. A crew of astronauts was sent to outer space on the Cloverfield Station. There, they were to activate the Shepard particle accelerator to save Earth.

Earth was suffering from an energy crisis. With the Shepard particle accelerator, they would be able to create infinite energy. But something goes wrong…

This is where things get interesting and the leadership lessons from The Cloverfield Paradox begin.

Quotes And Leadership Lessons From The Cloverfield Paradox

1. Resources can be exhausted:

The Cloverfield Paradox begins with a radio broadcast. The radio host tells viewers and listeners the problem. Earth’s energy resources would be depleted within 5 years.

This was a dangerous proposition. Earth was nearing population density. Millions would be without fuel or energy. Something had to be done.

You have to remember you and your team have a limited amount of resources. And those resources can be depleted.

Some of the resource levels you need to be aware of are:

Physical energy

Personal health



Mental capacity

These are all valuable resources for a leader and their team. When these resources are depleted, you and your team will be less effective.

Make sure you’re keeping an eye on your resources. Replenish and restore them when you see they’re being depleted.

2. Michael Hamilton:

Forgot about me and what I want.

Michael (Roger Davies) is the husband of Ava Hamilton (Gugu Mbatha-Raw). While sitting in their car, Michael and Ava discuss what’s about to happen. Ava had a choice: To stay on Earth or to join a group of scientists heading into space to save the world.

Michael shows great courage and strength when he tells Ava to forget about him and what he wants. She has to do what NEEDS to be done. She needs to go to space regardless of how Michael feels.

Great leaders are willing to sacrifice their desires when it benefits their team or the ones they serve. They give up their wants so others can reap the benefits.

Be a leader who’s willing to set aside your own desires. Look for the desires and needs of others and work towards meeting them.

3. Leaders can be stuck for a long time:

When the scientists fired up the Shepard particle accelerator, the ignition failed. There was no ignition.

Days crept into weeks, then months, eventually into years. The crew was stuck trying to figure out the problem and how to solve the problem.

Knowing you have a problem doesn’t lead to a resolution. Sometimes this knowledge leads to a period of waiting and wanting. Of trying to figure out what to do next.

You could be stuck on an issue for a long time. Don’t give up trying to solve or correct the issue. Work towards finding a solution, regardless of how long the solution takes.

4. In-person is better than virtual:

Ava and Michael’s relationship became long distance once Ava left on the space station. They had to communicate via a video conferencing call much like Skype.

This took away any physical contact they might have had. They weren’t able to see each other in person. All communication was done through video.

And this wasn’t enough for Michael. He longed to see Ava in person.

But how does this relate to business and leadership? With the advent of Skype and GoToMeeting and other video conferencing software, leaders can be tempted to meet clients and coworkers through virtual conference calls.

This temptation is understandable. You don’t have to leave the office to meet. You can click a button and be “there.

Yet meeting with someone virtually isn’t as impactful as meeting with someone in person. Being face to face with another person creates a connection that just isn’t there when you’re meeting through video.

Choose to meet in person when possible. Fall back on video conferencing when you don’t have a choice.

5. Kiel:

We have a job to do.

Kiel (David Oyelowo) was the captain of the Cloverfield Station and he had to step up and take command when two of his crew members began to argue. Volkov (Aksel Hennie), a Russian scientist, began to accuse Schmidt (Daniel Brühl), a German scientist, of sabotaging the Shepard accelerator. Volkov believed Schmidt had intentionally failed to ignite the accelerator so the Germans could overrun the Russians.

This tension created a problem. Work wasn’t getting done. And it needed to be done.

So Kiel told the crew they needed to get back to work. There was a job to do, they were there to do the job, and they needed to get to doing.

You and your people have a job to do. You need to communicate the job to your people and encourage your team to get the job done.

6. Prayer works:

Acosta (John Ortega) or, as he was referred to in the Cloverfield Paradox, Monk, was a believer. He prayed to God to allow the Shepard accelerator to work.

After praying, the crew attempted to ignite the accelerator. BOOM! The accelerator started to work.

Prayer is a powerful tool for a leader. Praying to God can open your eyes to new opportunities and help you when you’re stuck.

Stop and say a prayer. Ask God for help or guidance. Prayer works.

7. Leadership isn’t a solo job:

To ignite the Shepard particle accelerator, the crew had to use two firing keys. The firing keys had to be turned at the same time.

Two crew members placed their keys into the keyholes. Then they turned the keys. The particle accelerator lit up and fired!

Leadership may seem like it falls on the leader. And that’s true. The responsibility falls on you. The tasks, however, fall on multiple people.

Know as a leader, you can approach others and ask them to join with you. These people may mentor you, take on tasks you’re unable to do, or teach you new ways of leading.

Step out. Ask others to join you. Lead with others.

8. Success can have unintended consequences:

When the Shepard particle accelerator fired up, the crew rejoiced in their success. Quickly, their rejoicing turned to horror.

The Cloverfield Station lost gravity. It accelerated rapidly. And warped into another dimension.

Their success brought upon unintended consequences.

When you experience success, you have to be aware of the consequences you may not have thought of before. These consequences could be:

An inflated ego

Loss of time and availability

More stress



Your success can bring about issues you never thought about. Be on guard for what comes from success and winning.

9. Kiel:

Alright, here’s what we’re up against.

In a moment of frustration, you see Kiel crying in his quarters. He knows he has to give a tough message to his crew. After crying, he leaves his quarters and heads to the crew.

He begins to lay out what he believes happened. And what they need to do to make things right.

He bares his soul and communicates with his team. He tries to not hold anything back, including the good, the bad, and the ugly.

As a leader, you have the responsibility to clearly and fully communicate with your team. You can’t hold back crucial information that is vital to their success.

Be willing to share what you can with your team. Don’t hide information from them. Be a transparent leader.

10. Joe:

Just don’t lose hope.

Joe (Greg Grunberg from Lost and Mission: Impossible III) is a NASA contact who relays messages to the Cloverfield Station and talks with Michael. In one of their calls, Joe tells Michael not to lose hope. This is after NASA loses contact with the Cloverfield Station and they’re unsure of what happened to Ava and the rest of the crew.

Hope is a powerful thing. When you have hope, you feel like you can take on the world. Nothing seems impossible.

When you lose hope, nothing feels possible. You begin to retreat and figure out how to survive.

Find ways to keep hope alive. Hope will energize you and make you think of a better future. Losing hope will make you want to give up.

Choose hope.

11. Great leaders help others:

As Michael was walking through the city, he hears a young child crying out. She’s crying for help.

Michael listens. He follows her voice. And finds her in a destroyed building.

He talks to her. Tells her everything will be okay. Then he takes her to an underground bunker (much like the bunker in 10 Cloverfield Lane, though I don’t believe they are one and the same) to keep her safe.

You’re leading a team of people. These people have hopes and dreams. They also have feelings.

One of your jobs as a leader is to help the people you’re leading to achieve those hopes and dreams and to become leaders themselves. Work with them, help them realize their dreams.

12. Advice can come from odd places:

The Cloverfield Paradox is filled with strange happenings. One of those is when Mundy’s (Chris O’Dowd) arm is sucked into the wall. The other crew members pull him away from the wall but he’s lost his arm.

You soon discover his arm is in another part of the ship. Crawling around the floor in a scene that reminded me of the movie Army Of Darkness with Bruce Campbell.

The crew members trap the arm in a glass enclosure when the hand begins to move like it wants to write something. They open the enclosure and give the hand a pen.

The hand writes out a note: Cut Volkov open.

They heed the advice of Mundy’s arm. They go to the infirmary and cut Volkov open.

What do they find? Their missing gyro inside of Volkov’s stomach.

You will never have a detached arm write you a note. However, you will hear advice from unlikely sources and odd places.

You will have to choose whether or not to listen to the advice you’re given. Most of the time advice gained from odd places is unworthy of being listened to.

Yet you will have to be able to discern when the advice is valid. And when to follow the unlikely advice.

13. Michael:

Only in emergencies.

Michael was driving Molly (Clover Nee), the young girl he rescued, to the bunker. During the drive, Michael tried to text on his phone. Molly was quick to correct Michael.

You’re not supposed to text while driving, Molly told him. You could get us hurt.

Michael knew you’re not supposed to text and drive. However, this was an emergency. Concessions would have to be made.

Emergencies happen. During emergencies, you may have to break the rules.

Be willing to break the rules when you need to.

14. Kiel:

I want to give you some comforting advice… But I have no idea how this is going to go.

Kiel didn’t know how the rest of the Cloverfield Station mission would go. He wanted to be encouraging. Yet there wasn’t surety in what was going to happen.

Sometimes you won’t know how everything will turn out. You don’t know if the end will be good or bad. You still have a choice.

There’s the choice to be comforting and positive or to fill your team with doubt. Choose to be as comforting and affirming as you can be.

15. Ava Hamilton:

I don’t know where to start but this isn’t my world.

When the crew fired the Shepard particle accelerator, it brought them to a parallel dimension. Space and Earth looked a lot like their dimension but it was different.

Ava knew this. And she knew she couldn’t stay there.

You will discover organizations can change over time. The change may bring about an organization that looks similar to where you started but is completely different. And you no longer have a place there.

Because of this, you may be confused. You may wonder what do you do next and how do you move forward.

Be like Ava. Know the organization is no longer the organization you served in. It is something different and you have to move on.

16. Know what’s important:

Ava sent a message to the Ava of the alternate dimension she’d been transferred to. The message was important.

She told Ava that 2 things were important. The first would hopefully save the lives of the alternate Ava. The second is one every leader needs to remember.

Ava told herself to hold her children and husband. To love on her family. To be with her family.

The toll of leading can take you away from your family and loved ones. You may feel the pull to continue working long hours and leave your family at home.

If you do this, you’re damaging the most important part of your life. The ones you made a commitment to love, hold, cherish.

Know what’s important. And that’s your family.

Question: Have you seen The Cloverfield Paradox? If you have, what leadership lessons from The Cloverfield Paradox did you see? If you haven’t, what leadership lessons from The Cloverfield Paradox that I shared resonated with you? Let me know by leaving a comment below.

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