Over the weekend, I ran across Rocky III on AMC, and I couldn’t resist. The movie is a leadership case study.

It begins with Rocky winning the Heavyweight Championship, leading to the spoils of victory. Namely, a life of luxury.

After several months on Easy Street, Rocky is challenged by #1 contender, Mr. T. (a.k.a. Clubber Lang). Before the fight Rocky makes a terrible assumption. He assumes greatness is a given based on the fact he was once great. WRONG!

Rocky’s trusty trainer, Mick, tries to warn him. His words are legendary. “The worst thing happened to you that could happen to any fighter. You got civilized.” 

Rocky agrees to the fight despite the warning from Mick and, predictably, Clubber knocks his block off.

For leaders, just like fighters, the biggest threat to tomorrow’s result is yesterday’s success. If we are not careful, we can get sucked into the allure of achievement.

Lately, I’m asking myself if there are areas where I have become civilized. I encourage you to look in the mirror too.

Rocky eventually gained the title back. But it took a beating to make him hungry again. I hope the same isn’t required for us.

Please don’t go off and get yourself civilized. It is the worst thing that can happen to any leader.

Leadership Begins at Home,


What are some of the reasons a leader can lose his hunger to be great?

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