BLUF

Despite being a sole operator with legendary catch-phrases, James Bond can offer a lesson or two for modern leaders.

Summary

As a movie character, he is a household name, but we rarely think about James Bond as a manager. Instead, Bond operates alone in a non-organizational setting. Yet, management specialist Thomas Roulet argues the franchise is full of valuable lessons for modern managers—especially in the current context. 
  • For a start, the release of the latest movie was postponed three times because of COVID-19
  • The 25 James Bond movies are familiar with the theme of global uncertainty and play out the fears and anxiety associated with that.
  • COVID has taught us that major disruptions are often unanticipated.
  • In the same way that Bond does, leaders need to adapt while staying cool-headed.
It’s easy to think of James Bond as a single agent tackling global crises. But in fact, Bond relies on various allies that complement his skill set—his manager ‘M’ and the head of the secret service research and development team, ‘Q’, who provides Bond with the gadgets he needs in the field. The post-COVID business world will require combining people with specialized skills and coordinating them. Technology has become central to most teams, but the level of knowledge needed to deal with specialized tools, for example, is only increasing. Resilience to uncertainty, the need for complementary skills, and the benefits of the superfluous are three important management lessons we can take away from James Bond films.