Throughout the years I’ve taught a variety of courses and short programs and have collected a relatively short list of favorite films and videos that I use to illustrate certain lessons and behaviors. Here are some of my favorites:
Milkshakes : This four-minute video showcases Clay Christensen talking about how you get the most creative insights into a situation/problem by making sure you ask the right questions.
The Marshmallow Challenge : I use this almost-seven-minute TED talk video after running the marshmallow challenge (they give the website at the end of the video). The whole exercise/video sequence takes about an hour to conduct and debrief and is great at demonstrating and debriefing good and bad team behaviors. It is particularly useful when working with intact teams.
Don’t Eat The Marshmallow : This six-minute TED talk shows Joachim de Posada talking about the importance of self-discipline and delay of gratification is one of the most important factors in long-term success. He includes some very cute video clips of young children trying not to eat the marshmallow.
Emotional Intelligence in Practice : This is a short, two-minute video clip that showcases an emotionally intelligent response – and a non-emotionally intelligent response – to a hospital patient in need of pain medication. A bit silly, but everyone gets the point.
The Pixar Story : I’ve used this video to highlight many different lessons, including leading a creative team/endeavor, teamwork, and aspects of a creative culture. At an hour-and-a-half long, it can be a bit long to run in its entirety, so you can use different portions of it to highlight whatever particular lesson you’re pursuing.
Twelve Angry Men : This one is great for demonstrating power and influence and having students become aware of how subtle – and effective – small gestures can be. You can stop the film at various points to ask students what tactics the Henry Fonda character is using to influence different jurors. Definitely use the 1957 black and white version.
How To Live Before You Die : This is Steve Jobs’s commencement address to Stanford University and he tells three stories. Worth watching the entire 15 minutes.
Remember the Titans:  This film is great for observing and discussing teamwork and distributed leadership.
Apollo 13 : This film is useful for discussing leadership styles (particularly of the flight commander, Gene Kranz) and creative thinking under pressure with high stakes (remember trying to fix the air filter or how to give the craft enough power to land?). One of my all-time favorites.
What are some of your favorites?