Governance at the movies: Holiday Special

The holiday season is upon us once more, and as a celebration we are once again examining various movies to determine what lessons can be learned from them. However, instead of Halloween horrors we will be examining some festive films.

It’s a Wonderful Life

Despite a poor reception when first released, this 1946 Christmas classic has gone on to become one of the most beloved and cherished films of all time. It tells the tale of George Bailey, a kindly philanthropist who gets embroiled in a misplaced funds scandal. Just as he’s on the verge of losing everything a guardian angel arrives to remind him of all the good he’s done. It’s a Wonderful Life offers a glimpse into the field of boardroom dynamics and how governance professionals must learn to navigate them.

The film’s conflict lies in the attempts by Henry Potter, one of the board members of George’s insurance company, to take control of the organisation and dissolve it. For a governance professional, understanding the sometimes-clashing goals and personalities in the boardroom is imperative. Each board member may have their own priorities, but they should always work in the best interests of the company.

Die Hard

Setting aside the ongoing debate about whether Die Hard is truly a Christmas movie, this film highlights lessons in risk management. The film revolves around the Nakatomi Corporation’s Christmas party which is held hostage by a group of armed thieves pretending to be terrorists. Luckily, retired police office, John McClane is there to save the day. Die Hard can be construed as a lesson in risk management − holding large amounts of an organisation’s capital within its own corporate offices rather than a bank would certainly merit a place on the risk register.

The Nakatomi building is poorly protected despite holding $640 million in untraceable bearer bonds. This should have been rapidly identified in any boardroom discussion on risk, not to mention the fact that having a Christmas party where many of those with access codes are also in attendance.

We at the Institute wish you a happy Holidays and look forward to what 2024 holds. You can find a full list of our upcoming events on our website.

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