In the young adult movie "The Maze Runner" a group of young boys are sent to a place surrounded by a mysterious "Maze." The Maze is impenetrable, dangerous, and populated by "Grievers" (robotic beasts). As the protagonist - Thomas - finds out early on, no one can leave this prison - or enter the Maze. Watch this clip, when Thomas is introduced to the Maze.
Now - Thomas' prison is not that bad - that is, it's not that bad as far as prisons go. It works. The boys have learned to cooperate and trust one another. They grow their food and have shelter. They may hate their imprisonment, but they are alive. And then - as you can imagine - Thomas tries to convince them to leave. He is strongly opposed by another boy - Gally. Gally plays the role of the staus quo keeper, rule protector, efficiency manager. Gally desperately wants things to be as they were.
I wonder when we are Gally. We try so badly to keep things as they are that we fail to see that we live in a ticking bomb. We see rules as sacrosanct and fear anarchy is we ignore them for good cause. We become guardians of someone else's ideas, defenders of policies that used to make sense and no longer do. We think we're defending the organization - and could, instead, help destroy it.
What do you think? Can you find other parallels between leadership and The Maze Runner?
About the Author
Dr. Cris Wildermuth is an Assistant Professor at Drake University, where she coordinates and teaches at the Master of Science in Leadership Development.