Let’s take a moment to honor this cinematic legend while examining the dynamics of leadership that exist in all organizations whether it’s corporate America or in this case the Hole in the Wall Gang.
In this classic flick, Butch is an absentee leader with no succession plan. He is challenged by one of his subordinates for leadership of the gang. Butch leads the gang through his dominant intellect and control over the gang’s star member – the Sundance Kid a.k.a. Robert Redford. Here are some of Butch’s leadership shortcomings:
Assuming his Leadership won’t be Challenged
Butch is surprised when his leadership is challenged, but reminded by a gang member that “you always said that any one of us could challenge you Butch.” Butch responds, “That’s cause I figured no one would do it." The challenger responds, ”You figured wrong Butch.”
Losing Touch with his Team and then making Excuses
There is support for the challenge when one gang member says “ Well at least [the leadership challenger] is with us… you have been spending a lot of time gone.” Butch makes his excuse in that “everything is different now… it’s harder now…you have to plan more….”
No Succession Plan
Butch has no succession plan creating a leadership vacuum where the rules are unclear. The ensuing battle is won only by Butch’s quick thinking and fancy footwork. Ultimately, he must profess to the gang that there are no rules.
Retailating against those who Oppose him
Butch tells Sundance Kid that he doen’t mean to be a sore loser, but it the fight is done, and he’s dead, kill his successor.
Here is the full scene. Your comments on leadership are welcome.
[Harvey has challenged Butch to fight for control of the Hole-in-the-Wall gang]
Harvey Logan: Guns or Knives?
Butch Cassidy: Neither?
Harvey Logan: Pick.
Butch Cassidy: I don’t want to shoot with you Harvey.
Harvey Logan: [Draws a big knife] Anything you say, Butch.
‘[Butch walks over to his horse, by Sundance]
Butch Cassidy: [in a low voice] Maybe there’s a way to make a profit in this. Bet on Logan.
Sundance Kid: I would, but who’d bet on you?
Harvey Logan: Sundance, this doesn’t concern you. When we’re done, and he’s dead, you’re welcome to stay.
Butch Cassidy: [low voice, to Sundance] Listen, I don’t mean to be a sore loser, but when it’s done, if I’m dead, kill him.
Sundance Kid: [low voice to Butch] Love to.
[Waves to Harvey and smiles]
Butch Cassidy: [Walks back, and Harvey tenses to begin the fight] No, no, not yet. Not until me and Harvey get the rules straightened out.
Harvey Logan: Rules? In a knife fight? No rules.
[Butch throws dirt in Harvey’s eyes and kicks him in the groin, who falls to his knees]
Butch Cassidy: Well, if there aint’ going to be any rules, let’s get the fight started. Someone count. 1,2,3 go.
Sundance Kid: [quickly] 1,2,3, go.
[Butch knocks Harvey out]
Flat Nose Curry: I was rooting for you all along, Butch
Butch Cassidy: Well, thank you, Flatnose. That’s what sustained me in my time of trouble.