Fans of light sabers and Stormtroopers will be all a-fluster this week as shooting on the new Star Wars movie begins. The pressure, excitement and nerves amongst the cast must be palpable. What a massive and daunting task to undertake. Even sturdy Chewbacca must be freaked out by the worldwide expectation placed on his and his castmates’ shoulders. So how wonderful to learn of director JJ Abrams’ motivational note to the cast and crew, sent on the eve of filming.
His handwritten note is short and sweet yet powerful. “Dearest cast and crew,” Abrams writes. “What an honour it is to work beside all of you... I can’t thank you enough, for all work past and future.
“Let’s take good care of not just ourselves, but of each other. Amazing, but true: the world awaits this film. Let’s give ‘em something great. XO JJ”
It’s not verbose but it is lit up by heart, vision and authenticity. Beautiful stuff.
You might think this is just another luvvie being another luvvie. You’d be quite wrong. This is actually a wonderful and educational exercise in leadership and corporate culture. By sending this note to his staff before they even start work,
Abrams creates a community where everybody immediately feels as though they're working for the same goal and that their contribution is important and cherished. If you were part of that workforce, reading that note, wouldn’t you be fired up and ready to do a great job, happy that you’d be valued, supported and appreciated? A sense of purpose and the feeling that your effort is valued are two of the most motivating factors for work – and they produce great results.
How many bosses tell you that they're excited to be working with you? Sadly many leaders never the time to thank staff for their work, whether it’s a job well done or a project yet to undertake. A heartfelt thank you and a passionate and positive - not pressurised - reminder of a shared goal can go a long way.
Abrams’ approach is so different from the fear-based, impersonal management that you see in many companies. There’s a lot to learn from his approach. If your company experiences high staff turnovers, perhaps it’s the fear and lack of soul and appreciation that’s driving people out. This stuff matters to people. As Darth Vader himself might say: When it comes to corporate culture, look, you can go farther.
Star Wars 7 cast in pictures
Star Wars 7 cast in pictures
1/7 Harrison Ford
Ford will be returning as Han Solo for Star Wars 7 and is rumoured to have a 'gigantic role in the first of the next three films'.
2/7 Adam Driver
Lena Dunham tweeted confirmation that her fellow Girls star had landed the role of the villain in JJ Abrams' film. Now he has been officially confirmed and is expected to play a Darth Vader-like baddie.
3/7 Miltos Yerolemou
The Game of Thrones actor is not expected to have a 'major part' in the film
4/7 John Boyega
The 22-year-old best known for sci-fi movie Attack the Block is a new arrival for Star Wars and will be one of the sequel's 'trio of young leads'.
5/7 Andy Serkis
Also confirmed for the 7th installment is Serkis - who has a reputation as one of the best motion capture actors out there. So expect him to portray some sort of other worldly character.
6/7 Original Star Wars trio
Here are the original Star Wars trio of Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill back in the day.
7/7 Peter Mayhew
Peter Mayhew will reprise his role as Chewbacca with many fans excited at the theoretical prospect of a wizened old Chewie retired from space flight