November 22, 2007

What I Learned From Hollywood - Part 6

We've been systematically viewing our DVD collection. One movie that stands out for me was made in 1984 - "The Last Starfighter".

You've probably never heard of it. It was released the year after the Return of the Jedi. The IMDB summarizes it best. The Last Starfighter is about "a videogaming boy, seemingly doomed to stay at his trailer park home all his life, finds himself recruited as a gunner for an alien defense force."

Every young person's dream...mine included, minus the trailer part. But wait! There are some cool facts about this movie. For example The Last Starfighter was the first movie to have its special effects produced on a computer - a Cray to be exact.

But that not why I'm writing about it. What stuck with me is a scene between the two principal evil aliens at the end of the movie when they realize they've been defeated. It goes like this:

Lord Kril: Damage report!
Kodan Officer: Guidance system out. Auxiliary steering
Lord Kril: Divert! Divert!
Kodan Officer: She won't answer the helm! We're locked into the moon's gravitational pull. What do we do?
Lord Kril: We die.

Their situation reminds me of corporate turnaround projects from my past, where no matter what the plan called for, no matter how hard you try, or how amazing the skills and expertise of those involved, the project was doomed!

In my opinion the business lesson from The Last Starfighter, or more accurately from Lord Kril is that sometimes the best thing you can do is let go. Bring a dignified end to the initiative...then pick yourself up and start on something new.

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