Video Examples of Challenge the Process

Michelle Poché Flaherty

Q: Do you know of any YouTube or video clips (movies, etc.) that are current and applicable examples of the practice of Challenge the Process? I’m looking for some innovative examples.

A: Film and TV clips are my favorite way to demonstrate The Five Practices® in workshops. Rather than sitting through a theoretical lecture about concepts of leadership, participants enjoy entertaining examples of what The Five Practices look like in action.

When selecting clips, I look for scenes that not only depict a leader modeling one or more of The Five Practices, but also show how other characters respond favorably to the leader's behavior. I also make a point to look for examples that reflect ethnic and gender diversity.

Here are four of the scenes (described by numbers and titles as shown on their DVD menus) that I've found most effective for launching discussions about Challenge the Process:

  Men in Black: Scene 6. –Jeebs– (Fast forward to Will Smith entering the Triborough Bridge & Tunnel Authority. Watch for 6 minutes, until Rip Torn announces the eye exam.) In this humorous scene, NYPD Det./Sgt. James Edwards (Will Smith) demonstrates thinking outside the box through his unorthodox approach to bureaucracy and crime fighting, and is rewarded by being selected to become Agent Jay.
 
  Dead Poets Society: Scene 3. –Understanding Poetry– (Watch for 6 minutes through the end of the classroom scene.) English professor John Keating (Robin Williams) lights up the faces of his high school students as he challenges the process with his unconventional teaching methods. This heartwarming clip is a favorite of mine because he also models the way, inspires a shared vision, enables them to act, and encourages their hearts by asking each of them, –What will your contribution be?–
 
  Star Trek Voyager: Episode 118 "Elogium:" Scene 7. –Aggressive Posturing–(Watch for 4 minutes; stop before the Captain makes a questionable joke with Chakotay.) Captain Katheryn Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) is a favorite role model for me as a steely yet compassionate female leader in a traditionally masculine setting and role. In this scene, she takes risks in order to uphold organizational values and openly learns from experience in front of her crew. She also enables others to act by welcoming advice from all without appearing weak or indecisive.
 
  Sahara: Scene 13. –We're Home Free Now– (Watch for 6 minutes until they're playing Steppenwolf, fast-forwarding through the interim scene with Penelope Cruz.) Treasure hunting, former Navy SEALs Dirk Pitt (Matthew McConaughey) and Al Giordino (Steve Zahn) take risks and innovate to escape from the bad guys and survive in this comedy-adventure. When all hope should be lost, they also enable each other to act by maintaining positive attitudes to build teamwork and trust, thereby strengthening each other and fostering collaboration.

In addition to these films, if you find some YouTube clips you'd like to use but can't count on Internet access during your presentation, check out www.youtubekeep.com. This application allows you to download and save any YouTube video in high-quality (iPod compatible) and high-definition (HD) format.

Before presenting any portion of a film, be sure to check with the Motion Picture Association of America for their latest guidance on public performance use of films. The Federal Copyright Act requires such licensing in most non-academic settings. A helpful explanation and resources are posted at www.mpaa.org/.

Don't let the licensing requirements scare you off; they're easy to address. Movies can make training more applicable and more fun, especially if you mix in plenty of comedies between the more powerful dramas — and serve popcorn!

With nearly 20 years of experience, Michelle Poché Flaherty has held leadership positions in federal, state, and local government. She currently serves as the Organizational Development Manager for the City of Rockville, Maryland.

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