Talentscapes

007 from 007

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Bond, James Bond!

Undoubtedly, we have all followed this MI6 agent character that is independent by nature and impulsive by action. What we may not realize is the audacious effort that has gone into creating this cult! (Really, how many of us would have known about him, if not for the franchise and the movies?)

The franchise has made revenues in excess of USD 13+ billion (inflation adjusted) over the last 50 years and 23 movies. It is probably the big daddy of all franchises. So here goes my 7 from 007, not on Bond, but from the franchise and from my favorite character M.

001. Be Agile, Change with Time

While the overall plots have not changed, the context has; Die Another Day was probably the last move that referenced to the war era, with Casino Royale, EON intrinsically moved on to modern day terrorism and the shadows. Making it far more relevant to the current times. Think... how agile are we to re-balance and re-align with the future? In a world where the future cannot be predicted, agility is a key strength.

002. Your Purpose is the Only Constant

The actors have changed, the plots have changed. Yet, the purpose of "Queen and Country" remains the only constant in the life of Bond; the rest just seems to align with it like a symphony.

Think... as businesses, will our purpose guide us through the megatrends and disruptions?

003. Think Left-field

Consider this, the Broccoli family has always been close to the style of creative direction in Bond movies. With the changing demography of the audience, there was a need to reinvent the character. They bring in Sam Mendes (more known for the American Beauty), a left-field choice for Skyfall, and boom USD 1 billion+ in the bank. Need I say more?

Think... as leaders, are we looking for our images in the candidates we hire, or is it aligned with our purpose, shouldn't we be open to experiment with talent (even more relevant in a age where information is the new oil)?

004. "I'll Retire When the Goddamn Job is Done"

Moving on to M, my favorite on many counts, but most on the intent to execute and the ability to lead. Rightfully so Skyfall puts a disproportionate focus on this character.

This statement embodies all that M is about; across the franchise, M has not just said what he/she will be doing but has delivered on it and how. Think... as leaders, while bailing out is a perquisite of the position at times, given an opportunity will we stick it out for our teams and our conviction?

005. Unconventional Talent

The new Q is not an old gadget freak; instead it is young digitally-savvy Ben Whishaw, who in line with the modern day intelligence is a master of the connected world (much to Bond's shock I must add).

Think... as businesses, are we honing the right capabilities in our teams?

006. "007, Come Back Alive"

Probably a constant dialogue across the movies so far and the ones to come. In my reading, this one statement embodies the relationship that M and Bond have. A relationship seeded on courage, trust, endurance and (how can I forget) purpose. Even across his most daunting challenges Bond is assured that M worries about him and has his back to the best that he/she can.

Think... we do ask our top talent to endure through critical assignments, stretch and more, how can we make sure we've got their back should thing go south?

007. "...To Strive, to Seek, to Find, and not to Yield"

This has been M's story across five decades and numerous missions, similar to Tennyson's interpretation of the character of Ulysses who is resolute, heroic and determined.

Think... as leaders, how can we enable the same for our teams, our peers and most importantly, our organizations?

Looking forward to the SPECTRE, I cannot wait to see how this 24th movie brings back an organization that is an old adversary of MI6 from yesteryears!

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Vikrant Khanna
Lead – Insights & Innovation, Asia Pacific & Middle East, Aon Hewitt
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