High Noon

Study Guide 21: Leveraging Resources

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As a manager, you will invariably face situations in which your resources – both monetary and human – seem inadequate. In some cases, as in High Noon, you might find the spirit of your people, rather than their abilities, to be the thing that’s lacking. In High Noon, on the other hand, Gary Cooper finds he’s taken a job in which he’s ultimately expected to do it all, relieving his bosses, the townspeople, of any responsibility for peace and safety in their community. Oh sure, they’re on board when there’s no trouble; but when trouble does arise and those Miller boys are coming to get Coop, he’s suddenly standing all alone with everyone else saying “not my job, man.” At the end of the movie, Coop throws down his medal – his badge – in disgust. No one ever said being boss was easy.

Guide opening:

It hasn’t been a business-as-usual day. You got married, announced your retirement and learned that an old “gun-slinger” rival is coming after your company because he wants to get back at you for fouling up his career. It’s going to be an event-filled 24 hours, but you start out confidant you can get through. After all, this is your company! You’ve built it up, protected its people, and helped it get and keep on its feet. Now, surely, you can count on the employees to help you out. Whoops! Wrong assumption. This company seems to be an ESOP. Those friendly employees are actually your bosses, and they’ve hired you to take the heat – especially heat that’s all being generated because of actions you took years ago. Sure you took those actions to protect them and their holdings, but. . . that was then and this is now.

Summary of the commentary:

High Noon offers a nice contrast to Zulu [see MGTTM Study Guide 13]. The limited resources in Zulu are physical: lack of men, lack of ammunition, lack of water. In High Noon the limited resources are spiritual and psychological – and very similar to situations faced routinely by modern managers. Cooper knows what he has to do, but his new wife isn’t supportive. She wants him to ride away, leaving his self-respect along with his job. The frightened townspeople won’t support him and their ingratitude for his past efforts on their behalf is both astonishing and stinging. Unlike the Rorke’s Drift defenders of Zulu, Cooper has to face only three gunmen. The town is well supplied with guns, potential defenders and ammunition. The people, however, lack guts, gratitude and any sense of responsibility to their retiring boss. If he weren’t retiring anyway, you can be sure they’d have fired him as soon as the Miller Gang announced its coming. These “limited resources” of corporate soul can be far more devastating to organizational success than shortages of money and material.

The commentary is supplemented by BREAKOUT BOXES dealing with these topics:

  • Prefer Your Horse Operas in Outer Space? Try Outland!
  • The CEO as Hero: Opposing Views
  • What’s Your CSQ? (Corporate Soul Quotient)
  • Knowing When to Hold ’em, Fold ’em or Walk Away

THE GUIDE also includes an essay that looks at business as depicted in the movies. For an introductory section on how to use the Management Goes to the Movies™ program, click through to Using The MGTTM Training Program.

This guide will soon be available for purchase as an instant download for $5.95.