One of the hottest new movies on the market is Mockingjay Part I, part of the stunningly successful Hunger Game Series. I am intrigued with Katniss Everdine, the lead character in the movie. Katniss is an individual who never wanted the spotlight but reluctantly became the leader of the rebels who fight valiantly against President Snow and his incredibly cruel and oppressive government.
When Ms. Everdine wears a pin with the symbol of the mockingjay on it in the 74th Hunger Games, President Snow and the Capitol are incensed as it represents a direct knock on them due to the mistake they made in the first place—allowing the mockingjay to exist. Thus, Katniss becomes “The Mockingjay” and leads the rebels in their fight for survival.
Suzanne Collins, writer of the Hunger Games series of books, once described the particular role of the mockingjays. “Now the thing about the mockingjays is that they were never meant to be created. They were not a part of the Capitol’s design. So here’s this creature…that through the will of survival exists.”
Of course, the mockingjay is not a bird that actually exists in real life. It is a fictional bird that was created, as the book describes, through the inadvertent crossbreeding of the male Jabberjays (fictional) and female mockingbirds (real birds). Mockingjays are known as being survivors, able to live in almost any environment.
It got me to thinking about the mockingjays we have in our companies.
We all have seen them,
We are all aware they exist,
And we are blessed by their incredible contributions.
As I have watched various episodes of The Hunger Games, I have noticed the following characteristics of mockingjays:
1. They are determined.
2. Their first thought is for the welfare of others.
3. They live in the shadows.
4. They are outstanding performers.
5. They are the first to heap praise on others.
6. They did not cry out for the spotlight.
7. They rise to the occasion every time—powerfully and meaningfully.
But how do we identify, reward and retain them? In other words, the mockingjays are not the most classically trained as some in the company but somehow they survive and serve their fellow employees in a terrific way.
The mockingjays remind me of a description that the noted actor once used to encourage great work in TV and film:
Work very, very hard and always be prepared; never give up; and once you get the job, give them more than they ever expected—Shine!
I love our mockingjays at HireVue and the 3d-View.com, two companies where I am serving as the Chairman of the Board.
They are the very ones that deserve the promotions, the stock options, the pat on the back, and the continuous recognition.
Christopher Reeve once said:
“I think a hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles. They are the real heroes, and so are the families and friends who have stood by them.”
I believe that quote aptly describes the mockingjays in all of our companies. I encourage all managers to look for their mockingjays and make sure they get the recognition and rewards they deserve!
One scene summarizes my thoughts perfectly. Cinna, Katniss’ stylist, turns to Ms. Everdine and says:
“I’m not allowed to bet, but if I could I’d bet on you.”
Katniss humbly replies: “Thank You.”
That’s the way I feel about mockingjays.