Skip the Avengers: Why Entrepreneurs Should Watch 'Black Panther' Again Instead
Free Book Preview: Unstoppable
Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman tragically passed away this weekend due to complications from colon cancer. Below is an article from 2018 about the the film and titular leading role that he inhabited — like all his roles — so dynamically and humanely. Chadwick Boseman was 43.
Marvel’s Black Panther and Disney’s Avenger Infinity War are among the most popular superhero films of all time. Before Black Panther was released, it was projected to make $160 million and has proceeded to make $1.3 billion in worldwide sales. There is similar excitement with Avenger Infinity War, which garnered opening weekend estimates of $200 million in ticket sales, and analysts believe it will surpass Black Panther in the coming weeks.
While both films have destroyed box office predictions, Black Panther remains the film with significant takeaways for entrepreneurs.
The plot of director Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther revolves around the efforts of Wakanda, a wealthy African nation, to maintain peace, independence, sovereignty and sacred traditions against a potent threat from the outside world. The people of Wakanda are led by King T’Challa, Black Panther, who governs the land during the day and fights crime with a team of powerful women at night. Unlike Infinity War, Black Panther offers multiple examples of positive leadership practices consistent with entrepreneurship.
In Disney’s Avenger Infinity War, a team of superheroes works together to fight the unstoppable force of Thanos. For two hours and 40 minutes, Spiderman, Iron Man, the Incredible Hulk, Black Widow, Thor, Black Panther and others fight epic battles with villains to prevent Thanos from securing a powerful set of stones. While the benefits of camaraderie are on full display in Infinity War, it doesn’t compare to the teachings Black Panther offers business leaders.
Black Panther teaches business leaders to follow processes.
In business, it is critical for executives to identify how and when changes among the leadership team will occur. In the Black Panther film, there exist several occasions when a transfer of power is essential. The transition happens without much discussion among the leadership team and follows a pre-determined process.
When changes in authority take place in Avenger Infinity War, chaos ensues. Everyone who stands in opposition is eliminated. A sustainable entrepreneurial venture values process and input from others when termination or promotion actions are inevitable.
Black Panther teaches business leaders humility.
As an entrepreneur, it is important to receive and follow the advice of business coaches and senior executives who have valuable insights to success. Throughout the film, King T’Challa humbly consults with the elders of the community before making decisions. They often disagree on the appropriate responses to threats, but T’Challa followed his counsel’s advice.
Thanos, who assumed leadership by genocide, does not discuss his plans with anyone. He does what he desires and is willing to sacrifice anything, including family, to obtain the ultimate power. Long-term success in business begins with a leader who values collective wisdom and actions aligned with the company’s mission.
Black Panther teaches business leaders to find value in inclusivity.
The growing awareness around the #metoo movement underscores that it is imperative entrepreneurs create and support safe work environments for all employees. In nearly every scene of Black Panther, male and female characters embody strength, intelligence and mutual respect. While Black Widow and Scarlet Witch of The Avengers play essential roles in the film, the male characters dominate the decision-making on behalf of the superhero team. Studies confirm how diverse and inclusive employees influence companies’ long-term profits through the unique perspectives, experiences and skills they can offer a company.
The Black Panther film confirms lessons of my own business experiences. Success begins with humble people in power who respect policies, team members and the people they desire to serve. My first business was teaching martial arts to young people in Chicago. When I started I didn’t see the potential for more impact, service and profit until I worked with others who added their skills and experiences to strengthen the company. With our collective effort, we expanded our services to include academic supplemental instruction and mentorship.
Although Disney’s Avenger’s Infinity War is growing in popularity, entrepreneurs who wish to acquire some of the best practices in leadership should head back to the movies for another viewing of Black Panther.