Overcoming Adversity: A Leadership Lesson from the Making of the Pirates of the Caribbean

Today I watched the background documentary concerning the making of the Pirates of the Caribbean 2: Dead Man’s Chest. Fascinating as it was in so many respects, I was most intrigued by the determination and steady hand which characterized the movie’s director. The production of the film was in jeopardy on several fronts: risk of budget overruns; shortness of time; difficulty in producing a script to use in shoots; the challenges of on-location filming in hurricane country during the heart of the worst hurricane season on record to date; managing astronomical logistical factors in the midst of weather events completely outside his control (think nearly one thousand personnel at one point, technical factors and equipment, handcrafted pirate ships which were at risk of destruction by hurricane Wilma, and so many others).

Many who were interviewed lauded the calm, although admittedly concerned, leadership which he displayed during the two year process, including the 200 day shoot. Much went wrong, but he kept positive and impacted his team through his steady leadership.

In children’s ministry leadership we face adversity at times. We would do well to learn from someone who displays class under fire from many competing elements, not least those who control the financial purse strings of the entire enterprise. Watching the documentary reminded me of how critically important it is for me to manage my emotions, especially when under fire.

I don’t know what you are going through right now. I invite you to join me in remembering that our attitudes and actions are contagious. They influence others, even when we think nobody is watching. Leadership is a privilege; it is a responsibility.


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