Posted by Julian Sammy - 2016-06-06 19:55:00


Captain America (Steve Rogers) and Iron Man (Tony Stark) are both colossal failures when it comes to teamwork. This week Kevin and Julian take a walk on the nerd side, exploring the team dynamics and ultimate failure of the Avengers in the latest Marvel superhero movie, Captain America Civil War. What motivates the leaders of the team? How can team that is so high functioning sunder so spectacularly? And of course, what does that have to do with how you assemble your team.

Each week Kevin Brennan and Julian Sammy talk about organizational change failures and failures to change. They explore doomed attempts to adapt to our changing world, what was messed up, and how disaster could have been avoided. They connect ideas that don't seem related at first glance, reframe the problems, and consider strategies and mindsets that you can apply in your organization.

WARNING: There are spoilers for
Iron Man 2, Iron Man 3,
Captain America: The Winter Soldier,
Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron,
as well as Captain America: Civil War.

Show Notes

This episode begins with a look at how the Avengers failed, pinning responsibility squarely on leadership failings in Steve and Tony (Captain America and Iron Man). Both fell victim to the characteristics that make them heroic.

We begin by considering the difference between having a common enemy and having a common cause, and the implications to having a high functioning team. We move on to analyse the Avengers' leadership to uncover their core values. This is expressed in terms of what each man strives toward and seeks to avoid despite changing circumstances.

Leadership ideologies come into play as we contrast Tony's system-thinking approach to problems and Steve's bottom-up individualist approach. Zemo's arc from change failure to success is explored, with special emphasis on the power of planning.

Finally, we consider how they could have done it differently. Could the Avengers have taken the core values of the team leaders into account? Could they have built a team that was resilient? Capable of acting effectively for a purpose rather than reacting effectively to avoid a consequence? We circle back to the characteristics of an effective leader, and how those characteristics cut both ways.

Production Notes

Production of this show involved ruthless cutting of pauses, redundant comments, and sidebars - to the tune of 14 minutes worth of tape on the floor. Clear, coherent audio is more important to us than a smooth live feed, so the video does suffer to serve this purpose. As the editor, I can see we're already getting smother and more conversational. I expect we'll be out of BETA status very soon.

Links and References

There are not a lot of links for this episode beyond the movies themselves. I'll post some essays on loss and gain before the next episode airs, and will link to them when they're up on the site. Until then, you can read up on CA:CW on Wikipedia.


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