The Story of a Sign: La Historia de un Letrero

Wanna see a great example of Leadership Mojo? Click on over to a short film The Story of a Sign (La Historia de un Letrero) and find your mind entertained, your spirits lifted, and your heart inspired. It’s cool. Make sure you watch it twice to catch the brilliant nuances of the film makers. It’s just as much fun to watch the second time as the first.

As my friend Mark F. , who sent this film over to me said, changing one or two words can change everything in life. He’s right. Words can change our perspective. And when perspective changes, our actions change, our range of decision making changes.  Where could this idea be more important than for the leaders among us?

The filmmakers nailed every bit of this story to manage audience expectations to surprise us. For example, at first, didn’t you think the handsome guy, “Mr. Gorgeous”  was going to give away money with that flashy briefcase?

Did you notice, when Mr. Gorgeous first passed by, ignoring the pitiful plight on the street, he did so just as a street cart full of netted helium balloons moved in the opposite direction – a perfect foreshadowing, symbolizing the joy to come.

Then there was the counter intuitive twist of expectations for how the two main characters interacted. Often, the Mr. Gorgeous in a film is also Mr. Asshole. Instead of the one we love to hate, he was The Angel who reminded us all of the lesson about signals or, in this case, signs.

Notice, Mr. Gorgeous wasn’t about doling out money to those less fortunate. He wasn’t about trying to “make” someone else happy, a fatal flaw of many leaders. Instead, he was about delivering perspective- and then letting others act in accordance. He set things up to succeed.

I talk a lot to my executives clients about the signals that they send. It is a persistent and recurring theme, whose importance cannot be underestimated.

Are the signals you are sending really and truly what you intend them to be, or are theyfilled with subtexts that dilute or diffuse your message and what you are trying to accomplish? Never, ever forget, Leadership is about signals.  – Maybe you have an example where you think you did send the right signals, or a situation where you wished your “signals” had been much better? Thoughts?