| Guest Writer

Marvel’s Black Panther film has shattered all opening weekend expectations. It was reported that the movie was projected to make $160M before its February 16, 2018, release date. However, current records indicate a staggering $435.4M in the domestic market and $344.9M worldwide.

Director Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther film, offers the story of an independent wealthy African nation, Wakanda, and their leader T’Challa who fights to maintain peace, sovereignty, and sacred traditions. The plot thickens when the villain, Killmonger, initiates a violent campaign to steal the country’s army and technological advances in support of a war against oppressive governments. With an incredibly talented cast, Coogler delivers a memorable depiction filled with vivid images and action sequences that Marvel fans have come to appreciate in the latest series of comic-inspired films.

Beyond the visually stimulating imagery and twisting plot with references to The Black Panther Party and the CIA, there are significant takeaways that this film can offer entrepreneurs and executives. Without spoiling the movie, the following are three insights for leaders in the business community from the Black Panther movie that are relevant to decisions often made in boardrooms.

Leaders respect transition processes.

In business, it is vital that executives identify how and when changes among the leadership team will occur. In the Black Panther film, there exist several occasions when a transfer of power is necessary. Without much discussion, the transition adheres to a pre-determined process that identifies the new leader. A written and mutually agreed upon plan is critical when business requires the termination of an employee or a promotion to a leadership position. As exemplified in the film and applicable to companies, leaders must create an equitable process in consultation with others to ease structural changes.

Leaders should seek advice from a senior counsel.

As a business owner or executive, it is important to discuss strategies with senior members of the staff. As the leader of the Wakanda people, T’Challa consistently discussed his plans with the elders of the community. There were disagreements in how they should respond to threats and other pertinent issues. However, T’Challa listened, respected, and adhered to the council’s advice throughout multiple ordeals.

In the business community, it is important that seasoned individuals accompany opportunities to voice their opinions. In the film, the leaders of the communities were responsible for weighing options that could influence the citizens of Wakanda. Applying an informed collective approach to business can also lead to opportunities that can have a profound impact on the employees and the customers they serve.

Leaders are inclusive.

Leadership literature frequently stresses the importance of making strong individualistic decisions. However, the leaders of the Black Panther film found value in making inclusive decisions reflective of the strengths of a team. In multiple scenes, the characters who serve as leaders include men and women and demonstrate the importance in identifying ways to work together. The success of each mission begins with the leader T’Challa but is carried out with the assistance of the general and his love interest who is also a government spy.

To be successful in business, leaders must access multiple resources and people to assist opportunities for growth and improvement. Studies have demonstrated how diverse and inclusive companies can increase long-term profits via the bridging of perspectives, experiences, and skills. The Black Panther film and my experiences in leadership roles have informed me that we must move beyond valuing personal responsibility and aggressively ask for help to achieve lasting success.

Collective decision making is a shared value among the leadership examples extracted from Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther movie. Business owners and executives who wish to acquire some of the best practices in leadership can find value in the examples provided in the newest addition to the Marvel film series. Black Panther offers significant insights into leadership and the power that a cohesive group of individuals can achieve together.

Have you seen the film? What were your takeaways that apply to the business community? Share them in the comments.

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