Memorial Day weekend 2018 saw the release of the latest movie in the Star Wars Story series: Solo. Solo tells the origin story of the beloved pilot of the Millenium Falcon. And what a backstory he had.
From his days as a thief on the planet of Corellia to winning the Millenium Falcon, his days are full of adventure and intrigue. That’s what Solo sought to bring to life. Thankfully, Solo pulled off Han Solo’s origin story well.
Solo also provided many leadership lessons. Today, we’re going to look at the leadership lessons in Solo: A Star Wars Story.
Caution: Solo: A Star Wars Story spoilers below
Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Solo: A Star Wars Story
1. Everyone has a story:
Watching the original Star Wars trilogy, you knew that Han Solo (originally played by Harrison Ford, portrayed by Alden Ehrenreich in Solo) had a story. You just didn’t know what his story was.
Solo: A Star Wars Story clarifies his backstory from childhood to young adult when he claims ownership of the Millenium Falcon. His story explains many of the reasons for his scoundrelly ways.
He was brought into a criminal organization by Lady Proxima (Linda Hunt). He escaped but lost the love of his life, Kira (Emilia Clarke), joined the Empire, became a smuggler, and defender of the Rebellion. All of his life events help the viewer to realize why he is the way he is.
As you bring new people onto your team, you will have to navigate their story. Every person has a story. They have a history.
Their history colors the way they see the world and the actions they take. Be willing to listen and learn their history. Then begin helping them to overcome or use their history to better the organization.
You can do this by having a lunch and learn with them. Or you could ask them questions. Or just watch and listen to them. Their story will come out.
2. Bad leaders take advantage of the disadvantaged:
Lady Proxima was a bad mama jamma. She looked for disadvantaged youth on the planet of Corellia. Then she brought them into her organization to slave for her.
She saw an opportunity to take advantage of someone who wasn’t able to take care of themselves. And she seized upon it. She used another person’s weakness for her own gain.
Lady Proxima is a personification of a bad leader. She sought to use others for herself.
Don’t be like Lady Proxima.
You don’t have to take advantage of your employees. You can be fair and just.
Make sure you’re not looking out only for yourself. Make sure you’re taking care of your team as well.
3. You can choose your legacy:
Solo: A Star Wars Story explains the origins of the smuggler Solo. As he was signing up for the Empire, he was asked for his last name. He gave the surname of Solo after a short period of deliberation.
Han chose the last name Solo because he felt alone. He had no people to call his own. So he was Solo.
Han Solo got to choose the name people would remember him by. And remember them they did.
His last name could be considered his legacy. It’s what people called him by and how people remembered him. You have a choice.
You can choose your destiny.
By that, I mean you can take steps for people to remember you well or for people to remember you poorly. Your actions will decide how people remember you.
4. Tobias Beckett:
Maybe we’ll get lucky.
Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson) was another thief in the Star Wars universe. He found ways to get what he wanted by taking it from others.
One line he uttered in Solo: A Star Wars Story was “Maybe we’ll get lucky.”
He wasn’t confident in his plans. He did believe there was the possibility they would pull it off.
This uncertainty didn’t hold Beckett back from attempting his mission. He went ahead with it anyway.
You’re going to face uncertain times. You’re going to come face to face with fear. And you’re going to hope you have lady luck on your side.
There’s nothing wrong with wishing for a little luck. Luck is, after all, when preparation meets opportunity.
5. You never know where you’ll meet your best team members:
Han Solo tried to join forces with Beckett only to have Beckett turn him into the Empire. The Empire guards tossed Han into a muddy pit with a beast.
Their desire was for the beast to devour Han. Their plans fell through.
Han was being beaten when he saw an opportunity. As the beast had pounded his body into a pipe, the pipe began to bend. He told the beast about the broken pipe and how they could use it to escape.
The beast listened. And the beast turned out to be Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo)!
Han Solo was in a bad place when he found his best bud. His co-pilot.
You may be in a bad place right now. Know this may be where you find your best friend or next team member. Sometimes, in the darkest of places, the best people emerge.
Look for opportunities to form new relationships.
6. Han Solo:
Yes, I speak a little…
Chewbacca is a Wookie. It’s a race of hairy, humanoid creatures that have extraordinary strength. They also are a vocal creature.
Their language is guttural. It sounds like grunts and groans. And Han Solo had practiced the language.
This allowed Han to communicate with Chewbacca. He was able to communicate plans and formulate an escape.
All because he knew how to communicate in the right way.
Are you taking time to learn how to communicate with different people? Different genders, races, and people all communicate differently.
By learning the different ways people communicate, you can share your vision and inspire them in the right way. Find the right way to communicate with the people you lead.
Sometimes you put your faith in the wrong people.
Val (Thandie Newton) was Beckett’s right-hand girl. She was also his love interest.
While Beckett was debating whether or not to take Chewbacca and Han onto their team, Val told him people often have faith in the wrong people.
And Val is right. Leaders have to make a judgment call on whether or not to trust someone.
There are times when you will place trust in the wrong people. They will betray you. They will stab you in the back. And they will leave you wondering whether you’re fit to lead.
People make mistakes in their judgments of others all the time. If you have faith in someone and they betray it, don’t beat yourself up over your incorrect decision.
Know you made a mistake. Move on. Continue leading.
Everybody needs somebody.
Shortly after telling Beckett he sometimes puts faith in the wrong people, she tells him that everybody needs somebody. How true is that!
We weren’t created to be alone. We weren’t created to lead alone.
Find a pain partner. Find someone you can do this leadership thing with.
It’ll help make leadership less lonely. It’ll also help you to make wiser decisions.
9. Take the proper precautions:
Beckett and his gang were attempting to heist a cargo shipment of Coaxium from the 20-T Railcrawler conveyex transport. This was to repay Beckett’s debt to the leader of the Crimson Dawn, Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany).
Beckett’s gang flew in and Han, Chewbacca, and Beckett boarded the conveyex transport. Han and Chewbacca harnessed into the transport.
As they were trying to pilfer the goods, a rival band of thieves arrived on the scene. They attempted to take the shipment of Coaxium.
During the ensuing fight, Chewbacca and Han were knocked off the transport. Thankfully they had buckled in earlier. Otherwise, they would have fallen to their death.
Han and Chewbacca took the proper precautions. They harnessed in and were prepared in the case something went wrong.
Have you prepared like Han and Chewbacca? Do you have safeguards in place in case something goes awry?
As a leader, it’s your responsibility to prepare for the worst. You need to have safeguards in place in case you need to change direction.
Start preparing an emergency plan today. Lay out what problems could arise and how you could mitigate the risks from those problems.
10. Han Solo:
For me, it’s worth the risk.
Sadly, Val died during the Coaxium heist. Not only that, they lost the Coaxium itself! This meant Beckett’s debt would not be paid off.
Beckett talked about seeing Dryden and explaining his situation. Han wanted to go with him but Beckett told him it would be risky. Han told him it was worth the risk.
Leadership has its risks. You’re going to face difficult situations and you will have to take risks.
Know what risks are worth taking… And which risks aren’t worth taking.
11. All leaders answer to someone:
Beckett was the leader of his gang. Val, Han, Chewbacca, and others answered to him. But the line of command didn’t stop there. Beckett answered to someone else, Dryden Vos. And Dryden answered to another person.
This is much like my leadership and yours. There’s always someone else to answer to.
Whether this person is another leader, a boss, or the people you lead. You answer to someone.
Make sure you’re going to be able to give a good account of what you’ve done with what you’ve been given.
12. Great leaders look for alternatives:
Beckett faced a huge problem. The payment for his debt hadn’t been paid. And the payment he was planning to pay with had been destroyed.
This required Beckett and Han to look for an alternative. And they found one. However, the alternative was dangerous.
There was a stash of unrefined Coaxium. Yet the Pykes, the group guarding it, were an ally of the Crimson Dawn.
Han saw the alternative. Han and Chewbacca had no such alliance. They could go in, steal the Coaxium, and get it refined without breaking the alliance.
This alternative worked and allowed them to get the Coaxium.
Plans and situations change. They change faster than you would like. This means you have to keep an eye out for alternatives.
Be open to changing your plan. This could save your organization!
13. Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover):
Han, Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke), Beckett, and Chewbacca had gone to a gambling establishment to find Lando. They found Lando hustling some locals in a game of sabaac.
When Qi’Ra explained to Lando they needed his ship to make the Kessel Run, he agreed. Qi’Ra challenged him by telling him he’d said he’d never do it again.
Lando responded with the following Star Wars quote. Situations change…
You have to be ready for changes in your situation. When they present themselves, be ready to act.
14. Negotiate shrewdly:
Beckett’s gang soon discovers Lando’s ship, the Millenium Falcon, had been impounded. Lando asked for help from Beckett to break the impound chains.
Beckett saw an opportunity. He could renegotiate the terms of their agreement. This allowed Beckett to reduce Lando’s take from 25% to 20%.
Leadership requires negotiations to happen. And to be effective, you have to negotiate effectively.
You can’t let people walk all over you. You have to know what bargaining chips you have on the table and you have to use this chips effectively.
15. Tobias Beckett:
People are predictable.
Beckett saw people as being predictable. And he’s right. People are typically predictable.
They take the same route to and from the office. They eat the same foods. And they choose the same types of clothing.
You can often guess what people will do if you have enough information about them.
Watch and learn the habits of people. This will help you learn how to deal with them and what they may do in the future.
16. Know when to step away:
Qi’Ra had helped Han co-pilot the Millenium Falcon. Then she realized Chewbacca had more experience in flying than she did. So she stepped aside.
She passed on her role as co-pilot to the Wookie. She knew he would do a better job than she could.
You have to be willing to recognize when it would be wise for you to step aside. Whether this is due to someone wiser coming aboard, a change in leadership, or a life-change situation you have to be able to step away to allow someone else to step into their leadership role.
17. What didn’t work in the past might work now:
As a teenager, Han had tried to fly a landspeeder on its side. This trapped Qi’Ra and Han in an alleyway. Han’s maneuver didn’t work then.
Now, with the Millenium Falcon, Han wanted to try a similar maneuver again. This time, the maneuver worked.
You may have tried something in the past and failed. You may have thought it would never work again.
It might be time to reevaluate and see if the time is right for it to work. It just might.
You are the good guy.
Han saw himself as a scoundrel. An outlaw.
Qi’Ra saw him as something else. She saw Han as the good guy.
We’re a lot like Han. We can’t see the good in us when others can.
Listen to others as they talk about who you are and the difference you have made. Their words will help you take off the blinders and see you in a true light.