If you haven’t guessed yet, one of my all-time favourite movies is Jerry McGuire. A 1996 movie starring Tom Cruise, Renee Zellweger and Cuba Gooding Jr.

In this movie, Tom Cruise plays a slick sports agent who has a night of revelation to grow a conscience over how his industry works and what he would like his job to mean, for him, and the athletes they represent.

In an industry that is characterised by the key catch phrase “show me the money”, his new found disposition towards quality over quantity, leaves him fired by his mentee and on a pathway to self-employment with a single client.

The story is a Rom-Com of personal discovery.

Through a failed engagement, our main character discovers a new source of inspiration in the trust and relationships he builds with an infatuated executive assistant and her 5-year old boy who tells it as it is, and his only hope to success; a rumbunctious, loose cannon NFL wide-receiver, Rod.

To cut a 1.5hour story into a legible post, there is more truth to the screenplay than meets the eye.

The movie is loosely based on a 28-page memo written by, then Head of Movie productions at Disney studios, Jeffrey Katzenberg in 1991.

The title of the memo was “The World is Changing – Some Thoughts on our Business”.

The memo is dated 11 January 1991, exactly 32 years to date.

He starts off the memo by detailing the problem, which like today is the verge of an economic recession and a time of great uncertainty. Sound Familiar?

He also states that there is no other business better positioned to weather the storm.

Why? How? What?

As you leaf through the document, you realise a couple of things which I will highlight using Simon Sinek’s lessons:

The Why in the memo is “We produce Magic […] We are lucky. We get to manufacture magic and, in so doing, produce a product that makes a difference. […] Regardless of the recession, people will leave their VCR’s to go to the movie theatre … if they are convinces that the experience that awaits them there will be a magical one”.

The Why is pretty useless without a strong How. Here, Katzenberg says to create magic, you need “Everyone [to] feel the passion for making movies […] It’s magical for the audience and it should be magical for us.”

Finally, with that in place you can see What the fruit of labour results in, at Disney is about “Stories That make us Care: The idea may be king and high concepts may be powerful, but the crucial step is translating them into compelling stories. It is the story that people remember. It is the story that gives the movie business its extraordinary power to impact the world.”

With the right ingredients, everyone can make it work.

The title of this post is taken directly out of the movie, and a quote from Cruise, as he has is umpteenth awakening; “You complete me” he tells Zellweger. He realises he cannot move on without her in his life and what she brings to the relationship. As strong and great as he is at his job, he cannot do this alone.

A leader needs intellectual, emotional, social, spiritual skill sets, none of which are as bountiful across the board, yet all part of the package for great leadership, because “[t]he key to this business is personal relationships”.

That is the key to ALL business.

Our relationship with you is to provide daily FIRE to inspire you.

We do this by giving you the mental stimulus and fortitude to give yourself direction.

We inspire you to seek success through others (not at others’ cost), and lead like you would want to be led.

We encourage you to own what you signed up for and have the backs of the people in your charge with clarity of purpose and full accountability of the role you take on.

Finally, we do not want you to be perfect – it does not exist; We will guide you to make today better than yesterday, by feeding forward based on the lessons learnt and constantly have the appetite to sharpen your skill sets.

If this resonates with you, get in touch. I would love to have a chat!


PS: In the same year as the Katzenberg memo, Disney released Beauty and The Beast. It exceeded all expectations. Raking in over $500 million, it was the first animated movie to be nominated for best picture at the Academy Awards because it told a story that left an impact, it spoke about caring and the beauty of within not outside … coincidence?