Annual Planning and a Movie

When you think of a WMU annual planning retreat, I surmise you do not think one of the activities would be to sit and watch a Disney/Pixar movie, right? When was the last time you watched a children’s movie and gathered leadership lessons from it?

Several years ago, my team and I had the most fun doing just that at our annual planning retreat. After an afternoon of discussion and thoughtful planning, the highlight was watching Toy Story 3.

We got our popcorn, turned down the lights, and started to watch the hilarious antics of Woody and the gang. We laughed so hard that night!

The movie’s premise is this: Andy (Woody and the other toys’ owner) is leaving for college. While cleaning his room, he places his favorite toys in a box to be stored, but through a series of mishaps, the toys end up at a children’s day care. The toys’ mission/vision was to get back to Andy.

We learned the following lessons:

  • As leaders, we need to have vision and passionately defend and champion the vision.
  • As leaders, we need to ask the questions “Do we serve others or ourselves?” and “Which type of leader would your team say you are?”
  • As leaders, we should take a team approach because working together is more effective, as we utilize each person’s individual gifts.
  • As leaders, we should be multiplying ourselves so that ministry will be able to move forward even in our absence.

The toys finally get back to Andy. In a heartfelt scene, Andy gives his toys to a young girl named Bonnie as he is going off to college.

Watching movies and relaxing with friends and colleagues is great fun! What lessons can you learn from your next movie?

Cathy Meyer has been executive director, New York WMU, for the past 10 years.




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