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Four management lessons Deadpool 2 has for startup leaders

Written by Eric Johansson on Friday, 01 June 2018. Posted in Leadership, People

The merc with the mouth is back for his second cinematic outing. While we won’t blame you for enjoying the explicit violence, remember that the movie also has a few lessons to teach business leaders

Four management lessons Deadpool 2 has for startup leaders

Photo credit: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Deadpool is back for his second movie. Yes, we don’t count the travesty that was the character’s portrayal in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Seriously, whoever green-lit the idea of sewing his lips shut shouldn’t work in films.

Fortunately, no one would even consider rendering the merc with the mouth silent in Ryan Reynolds' rendition of the rebellious rascal. But while the new cinematic experience comes complete with explicit vernacular and gruesome violence, those aren’t the only reasons why business leaders should pay attention when Wade Wilson takes centre stage.

As a matter of fact, there are four lessons startup founders can learn during the 119 minutes of epic superhero awesomeness.

(1) Don’t hire based on interview alone

Without spoiling anything huge, a big part of the movie sees Deadpool recruit his own team of superheroes – X-Force. "[But] Deadpool falls into a classic mistake when recruiting the X-Force in this movie – [he] hires based on interview alone,” said Cathy White, comic book movie lover, ditto founder and director of CEW Communications, the branding agency for scaleups. The problem, she argues, is that without properly testing candidates’ skills, business leaders run the risk of making a bad hire if they’re hiring based on just the interview. “Even when you need to find someone for a role super-fast, do more than just an interview – give them a task, test their abilities and, please, if they claim to be a superhero, get references or at least Google them," White said.

(2) Not every worker needs to be a superhero

One of the movie’s biggest lessons comes when you consider the character Peter. “He has no superpowers but just turned up for the audition because he saw the advert and thought it sounded cool,” says Paul Stallard, international managing director of Berkeley Communications, the PR agency. “Quite funny in itself but what does it teach us about being a business leader? Well not every team is built up of superstars.” Sure, every startup founder dreams of populating their offices with almost metahuman professionals. However, it’s important to recognise some workers have other values. “In the film, Peter doesn’t possess any powers but fits seamlessly into the team because he is likeable,” explains Stallard. “The team are actually all quite unlikable for one reason or another but it is Peter who strangely brings them all together with his innocence and naivety. This is why Deadpool is such a brilliant leader. He can see that although he doesn’t have any superpower that will push the team forward – they function better as a team with him in it doing his small part.”

(3) Don’t write off young people

Deadpool 2 follows X-Force’s attempts of trying to save the young mutant named Russell Collins from the time-travelling thug Cable. But while he may be a teenager, his hidden potential reveals the third lesson for founders. “Russell is [an] apt representation of those in power writing younger people off too quickly,” explained James Calder, CEO at Distinct Recruitment, the recruitment agency. “Often the label of 'inexperienced' can cause younger people not to apply for jobs or push for that next step in their career. In reality, the stereotype that millennials just want everything handed to them could not be further from the truth. The only difference between the inexperienced younger employees and their older counterparts is [that] their potential has not yet been tapped into.” So the next time you hire someone, make sure you consider not just who they are but also who they could become.

(4) Learn from your mistakes

Without giving too much away, the foul-mouthed protagonist makes a lot of mistakes in the movie. Fortunately, he also has a chance to rectify them, providing managers with another vital lesson.  “Sometimes we as business people do not learn from our mistakes and failures,” says Josh Wilson (no relation to Deadpool),  managing director of Wilson Worldwide Productions, the production company. “Failures are simply there to be learnt from, otherwise the experience was a waste of time. It’s key we take the lessons we learn on board and apply them at the opportune moment when a similar situation arises again.” Hear, hear.

While few startups face massive explosions on a regular basis, they’re all trying to change the world for the better. So why not kick back with some popcorn and watch a movie? There’s always some lessons to use when you tackle the strong winds of entrepreneurship.

About the Author

Eric Johansson

As feature writer and resident Viking, Johansson ensures EB is filled with engaging and eclectic entrepreneurial stories. While one of our most prolific tech writers, he has sharpened his editorial teeth by writing about entertainment and fitness.

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