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The Top 100 Movie Quotes for HR Pros: #80 is Brad Pitt: "What's the Problem?" (Moneyball)

Recurring series at the Capitalist: The Top 100 Movie Quotes of all time for HR Pros.  In no special order, I break down the 100 movie quotes that resonate most for me as a career HR pro.  Some will be funny, some will be serious... Some will tug at your heart like when the Fox voice-over guy said, "Tonight - a very special episode of 90210"... You get the vibe... I'll do it countdown-style like they're ranked, but let's face it - they're ALL special..

"What's the Problem?"

--Brad Pitt as Billy Beane in Moneyball

When you watch this clip, there's a couple of things happening that are pretty powerful from a Human Capital perspective:

1.  Billy Beane is using an open-ended question to engage a team.  "What's the problem?"

2.  The question is being used as a warning signal from a leader that change is not only needed, it's required.  That's why the question continues to be asked by Beane and why he gradually grows more impatient when his direct reports are unwilling to walk down the path of thinking differently.

3.  It also becomes a classic clip from the perspective of watching someone (the head scout to Beane's right) refuse to manage up in even the slightest degree.  You'll see that guy not only refuse to play along, but be outright belligerent from the perspective of trying to understand what Beane wants.  That guy loses his job shortly thereafter in the movie.

If you can't get onboard with change, you'll be part of the change, my friends.

"What's the problem?" is a pretty powerful question when trying to lead a team down a new path.  

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Janet Jakobe-Gray

Love this movie. Love this post!

HR Girl

I love this approach for solving a problem. Open-ended questions like "What is the problem?" can get so much more input, engagement, and progress from your employees. It's also great for using with upper management and CEOs, because like you wrote, it brings it to the table that there is a problem that needs fixing. I love this post - and the Brad Pitt clip doesn't hurt :)


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