Learn from “Red Pollard”

I watched the movie “Seabiscuit” some six or seven years back. Loved the movie and I reacted like everyone else saying, it’s a great story of how an underdog wins. Just a couple of weeks back I was chatting with some friends at work and we were talking about how to get people to work to their potential. Suddenly the scene that flashed in front of my eyes was from the movie Seabiscuit when the jockey Red Pollard has broken his leg and is giving tips to George Woolf on how to deal with Seabiscuit.

This particular scene is a leadership lesson for everyone who works in teams. Red Pollard knows how to get Seabiscuit to perform to his potential and a horse that was written off for being too feisty and termed “incorrigible” goes on to win race after race. Read about the movie on this link Seabiscuit movie or better still watch the movie.

How easily we give up when we have a difficult colleague !! And how little do we know of our team member’s potential. Each person has potential for something and as a manager we need to spend time finding that potential and creating the circumstances for it to blossom. Sounds esoteric ? It’s actually not if you assume it to be part of your role as a manager. What is really your role as a manager of a team – to get the team work well together and pull towards the goals you have. How can you do it if you don’t know what makes each of your team member tick ? So spend the time getting to know your people and help them reach their potential – and win the race.

The more I thought of the movie the more I could see lessons in almost every frame .. The horse trainer Smith says “you don’t throw away a whole life because it’s a little banged up” while comparing it to Seabiscuit, the horse. What an amazing statement – again, many of us give up so easily when things go a little awry !!

Seabiscuit had been trained to lose and help train other horses to win and Smith and Red Pollard turn that around and if it can be done with a horse, why not with a human being ? Everyone wants to win… It’s about finding that fighting spirit and getting it to work.

The owner of Seabiscuit, Charles Howard works in a cycle store and manages to accidentally repair an automobile and goes on to become a big automobile dealer – make the best of every opportunity and keep learning new things because the old keeps making place for the new. Lesson in staying relevant.

Btw, the movie is based on a real life story. Makes it that much more relevant, powerful and the lessons real because they did happen.

3 thoughts on “Learn from “Red Pollard””

  1. Truly sensational movie and what a great compare …Thanks Bindu for the inspirational compares leveraging us to manage life and teams better : )) …………Ain’t no mountain high (song)

    Brajesh Kumar


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