Captain Phillips

Captain Phillips Movie PosterMy wife and I saw Captain Phillips on Saturday. Yes, I have read the articles about the ways that the movie might not quite be fully accurate. But, it is still a great “business conversations starter” movie.

In case you have not seen it, it is based on the true story of the attack on the Maersk Alabama container ship by Somali Pirates. And if you want to read an interesting, apparently factual take on whether the film is accurate or not, there’s an article that breaks it all down pretty well.

Whether fully accurate or not, the movie provides a few “obvious” business lessons and suggests other conversations. Here are three business lessons:

  1. Always be on the lookout for the next dangerous threat—because, chances are, there is a next dangerous threat headed your way.
    In this case, the threat was really dangerous! But, every business faces threats from internal failures (or even internal laziness), external forces, lack of preparation, and from something simply going wrong. Many threats are not as “dangerous” as those posed by Somali Pirates, but there are still threats to the well-being of your business. Do not be surprised when they arrive. Try to anticipate them; try to prepare for them—because the threats are certainly coming!
  1. When you face a genuine crisis, your focus is pretty much shifted completely to dealing with the crisis.
    In the midst of a genuine crisis, a genuine threat that has arrived on your front door, nothing else matters until you deal with the crisis—the threat. So, that is where you put all of your focus.
  1. After the crisis, get back to work as soon as you can.
    I assume the ship got back to its work of transporting containers pretty quickly. And, at the end of the movie, in the “what happened next” lines of text on the screen, we learn that Captain Phillips did return to sea. It would have been understandable if he had never returned, but he did. I’ve got a hunch that that is the best strategy to move forward after surviving or facing down any crisis.

Here it is:

  • Be as prepared as possible for any and every threat or crisis. (Get prepared; stay prepared.)
  • Face the threat/crisis.
  • Get back to work.

There are certainly other lessons to be learned. The movie provides great discussion starters on preparation, checklists, team work, communication, etc. Good movie!

Randy Mayeux


Contributed by:
Randy Mayeux
Professional Speaker & Writer
Co-founder, First Friday Book Synopsis

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