The Jack Bauer Guide to Leadership–10 Lessons for Leaders from “24”

I’m a confessed “24 Fanatic”. Given the choice between going out on the town and watching Chloe’s Personality Disorder – I’ll take Chloe and CTU hands down.

As the 24 seasons have unfolded I have thought more than once about the lessons that 24 has for today’s business leaders running their own CTU. (Competitive Tactical Units).

If only every business, had a Jack Bauer they could call, to get the mission accomplished and lead field operations!

#1: Successful Missions begin with Good Intel. Jack never goes into a mission blind. The analysts at CTU send him the latest satellite updates and intel so he knows exactly what he’s getting into and can develop his entry strategy. If only your sales team, had that intel before talking to a prospect.

#2: Field Operations need Communication and Support from Command. Jack is never out there alone. He is backed up by a team that provides constant tactical support. Does operations support your team in the field?

#3: To get things done–you need a direct line to the President. Jack has on more than one occasion had to call the big guy to remove a road block and so will you when things get messy! Do you have quick access to your President when and if you need it?

#4: People with Personality Disorders sometimes have the greatest talent—Put up with it. Your business may depend having the best person for the job. Chloe and Edgar won’t win you over with their communication skills, but that’s not what their there for, they are the best at what they do .

#5: Every organization needs protocols–Rules of the Road for what to do in those worst case scenarios and when to call Division. How familiar is your team with the rules that provide the playbook for problem solving.

# 6: Good Leadership entails a calm, non-emotional response to crisis. We saw it in President Palmer but in later episodes, when Air Force One went down, I didn’t feel too safe with President Keeler at the helm. Did you? Remember that when we’re angry or emotional our IQ drops a whopping 50%. Good decisions never happen at 50% brainpower.

#7: Watch out for Traitors on your own Team. They are doing the most damage to your operations. Do you have Nina or Mrs. Palmer on your team sabotaging your mission? Sometimes covert and sometimes not, these ‘inside terrorists” are diverting your resources and attention and are most likely at the root of your unit’s negativity and team morale issues. Root them out. It’s not okay to be a traitor.

#8: Sometimes Leaders just never get a life! Poor Jack. Hero yes, but we never see this guy eat let alone have any kind of life. Even Heroes are Human. Just one time, wouldn’t you love to see Jack at home with nothing to do, his shoes kicked off, eating popcorn and watching TV? It’ll never happen but make sure it happens to you.

#9: Know the Enemy: Be they Terrorists or Competitors. They’ve got plans, technology and they don’t follow rules, which make them extremely dangerous.

#10: A good agent like Jack Bauer is a problem solver with diverse competencies. He or she is loyal, confident, calm in crisis, and knows protocols. A good agent like Jack Bauer gets dirty and sometimes does break the rules in order to accomplish the mission but they are always guided by core values and a commitment to do what’s best for the country!

So, maybe you have more in common with Jack Bauer than you thought? In which case, take 24 hours just for you and for your family. Your Country, Your Organization needs you well rested for the next mission.

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