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Lessons from '12 Angry Men'

Movies do have a lot to teach if we observe well. Even the prime motto remains entertainment, relating the same with our daily life instances can help us grow well, especially in our corporate lives. The article begins with the situation from the movie followed by lessons from the movie, 12 Angry Men.


In general situations of our lives, Do you think that the strategy that got majority votes is the right one to implement?

12 Angry Men: The Story


It is the story of one person, Davis, changing the course of the judgment given by a jury of 12 men as they decide the fate (conviction or acquittal) of an 18-year old defendant.


The jury contained a few intelligent people, a few indifferent people, a few affected by other's decisions, and a few who take their perceptions strongly.


Lesson 1

The initial judgment goes against the accused with an 11:1 majority. As the verdict needs to be 12:0 for any decision to be taken, everyone pushed Davis to accept their choice. But, Davis, showing true leadership pushed everyone to have a thorough argument, during which he changes everyone’s thought process and lead them to the right decision.


Davis was helped by the rule that all the jury members should vote 12:0 for any choice. Otherwise, Davis would have been unheard and neglected, wherein injustice would have prevailed.

Lesson 2:

Even though the subject is related to Law, we can draw a perfect analogy to Corporate teams. It serves as a great lesson for Corporate employees. It teaches us different types of personalities, how the results are affected by them (knowingly or unknowingly), and how the leader needs to steer everyone to the right decision.


Lesson 3:

Even in any corporate team, we have people who are not interested, having biases, or lack knowledge who affect the overall outcome. Even though, the majority push for a certain strategy, a minority section of people might be talking about the course corrections, which need to be heard at least, to build a strong strategy and create strong teams.



Lessons from 12 Angry Men: Implementing in Corporate Life


  1. After all the team members involved in strategy building or decision making are assembled, take an initial vote in favor or against a strategy

  2. In spite of the outcome, let everyone explain their logic behind selecting their choice

  3. Generalize and make a common list of points in favor of and against all choices

  4. Let everyone provide argument and counter-arguments based on the points listed, of course, moderated by a person, or a leader

  5. Push them to back their logics based on facts

  6. Conclude with the final decision, if required, by mixing two choices or making changes in a single choice.


End of the day, the team has to follow this final decision objectively without any qualms. After all, there would be some compromises during teamwork. But, as the team wins, every team member wins; and for all this to happen, a very effective leader is required.


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