Most of us are familiar with the horror author, Stephen King. He masterfully crafted one of the most iconic horror movies to date, “It.” The movie was designed to evoke fear and while he certainly completed that task, he may have also provided an outline of what it takes for businesses to overcome roadblocks.
Pennywise is Waiting
In the movie, seven children form a team known as The Losers Club. They, along with other children in town, are tormented by a mysterious shape-shifting clown named Pennywise. His main goal is to use fear as a roadblock to keep the children from overcoming their obstacles. Similarly, there are also barriers that come with running a business, from funding and talent availability to production and service quality. As Stephen King realized, no child (or business) can avoid them forever.
So, what happens when your team faces its Pennywise?
Like the clown in this movie, roadblocks can shape-shift into both seen and unseen problems and oftentimes the unseen fears get the best of you. Does your team have enough grit to overcome fears and challenging obstacles? If your team can’t get past obstacles, then your Pennywise will always be waiting.
Getting Stuck in the Sewer
Bill Denbrough, the leader of The Losers Club, was the first one to come up with a plan to overcome Pennywise. When they all wanted to run, he encouraged them to fight. “If we stick together, all of us, we’ll win. I promise,” he said as he urged his friends to follow through with the plan to attack Pennywise. For a moment, it was just him and Beverly Marsh, another leader of The Losers Club. But eventually, the rest of his team bought into the plan. For them, good leadership and camaraderie helped them overcome their roadblock. But there was one even more important factor - Grit. Something that won’t show up on a resume. You either have it, or you don’t. If your team trembles whenever Pennywise shows up, your business might get stuck in the sewer.
The University of Pennsylvania psychologist Angela Duckworth researched the importance of grit. Her studies indicated that success doesn’t depend solely on talent. It depends on the ability to focus on a goal with passion and perseverance. “There are many talented people who do not follow through on their commitments,” said Duckworth in her well known TEDx talk.
The Losers Club had it. They buckled down, facing all their fears and carried out the plan to attack Pennywise. The team of kids used what they had. One used a gun-like weapon. Another, a long stick. Yet another, a sharp object. Each team member, with their specific weapon, helped overcome the obstacle in front of them.
And most importantly, the weapons were not the things that hurt Pennywise. It was the belief that their weapons, or skillsets, would solve the problem. The intangible resources they held, combined with the belief that they could persevere, is what defeated Pennywise.
The It Factor
Throughout the movie, the children couldn’t clearly define Pennywise. They just knew it as something they needed to overcome together. They were stronger together than apart. After they defeated Pennywise, they realized one thing — they finally had It.
What is It?
It could be grit. It could be perseverance. It could be tenacity. It could be creative solutions or a need for improved teamwork or new talent. But, for the most part, It is subjective to each team or business. The children in the movie had everything they needed to push through their roadblock. They had the weapons and the will.
So, when you meet with your team this week — and whenever roadblocks arise, look around and see if your team has.........It.