Thursday, July 12, 2012

5 Lessons About Teams from the Movie Avatar

I have now seen the movie Avatar several times, and each time I learn something new, and gain a new perspective.  This time when I watched it I found myself thinking about the parallels between the story line, and business.  In the movie Avatar, there were examples of the following, which I believe are essential for organizational success:


Teams and communities can endure and move through a great deal of change, crisis and adversity when the relationships are strong. Relationships can be restored with work, and when both parties are willing to understand, build the relationship, forgive, and move forward. Trust can be broken as quickly as it is formed so ongoing attention to nurturing trust and relationships is essential.


Trust, honesty, honour, family and respect for the land and its creatures was critical, just like in organizations, these are often the key organizational foundations. When deeply rooted values are compromised, or challenged, it can create conflict and division in the community, in the team.

Importance of rituals and legacy

In the movie Avatar, legacy, tradition and rituals were the backbone of the people. Decisions were made based on history and rituals that keep the community strong. In workplaces there is often a culture, and when the team connects with tradition and rituals, there is a sense of synergy that forms.


When there is a goal and a purpose, communities (and in the case of Avatar... Tribes) come together to support the mission. Community is not just people living or working in a certain geographic area. Community involves relationships. In Avatar, when the safety of the community was threatened, other communities came to lend support. We have seen this in our own community natural disasters such as forest fires, floods, etc. Other communities reach out to lend support, resources, and assistance. Social responsibility and respect for the land is a hot issue in many workplaces and organizations, as it was in the movie Avatar.


Every community, tribe, workplace and team needs a leader. Leaders are the vision keepers, uphold the goals and mission, even when the going gets tough, and create cohesion in a time of crisis. As David Irvine (author and speaker on leadership and trust) says, leadership is a decision, not a position.

Next time you watch Avatar, watch for the parallels you see between the movie and the team or organization in which you work. Look forward to hearing your perspectives.


  1. Cool analogy! Now I want to see the movie! Great post Charmaine.

  2. It is so well done. I have seen it twice now and each time there are new learnings.....

  3. Oooo...I love Avatar!! There are many lessons for us all in that fantastic movie....thanks for bringing some of the key concepts into light! I think having that common goal and mission is really important, and the shared "code of honor" or set of values.

    Love it! Leadership is truly a decision.



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