Monthly Archives: October 2013

15 Leadership Traits from the Gladiator

gladiatorOne of my favorite movies is Gladiator starring Russell Crowe. It’s not for the fighting and action, , , it is for the first five minutes that lead up to the battle scene.

Let’s step back a moment and I’ll explain why I’m writing this article.

One of my first managers was an IBM Systems Engineering manager early in my career. Bryan gave me some excellent guidance and recommended one thing the very first week I met him that I’ve always remembered.

He suggested that I should, “observe others and incorporate the good things into my own approach to doing things and avoid the bad things”.

In other words, take the best of the best as you develop your own style and way of doing things. It was a powerful piece of advice that has helped me throughout my career.

I observe management techniques and leadership skills in all walks of life.

For example, one of the best managers I know is George Ippolito, an Italian restaurant owner. George does such a good job that he has tremendous repeat business and staff that stays with him for years, something that’s rare in the restaurant business. He is successful because he earns it every day and he coaches his employees how to deliver excellent service.

The movie Gladiator got my attention immediately. It was the first five minutes that gave me chills as I recognized leadership skill after leadership skill. Much of it is subtle, but I can assure you the leadership and management traits are there and they are great examples that can be applied in your IT world.

The movie is a fictional piece of work, but there are valuable insights that come from what you see in the first five minutes.

In this first scene Maximus Meridius, General and Commander of the Northern Legions of the Roman Army, is taking a moment to reflect and prepare for one final battle after years of war. He returns to his army to meet briefly with other generals to finalize the coordination of the Roman cavalry and infantry attack on the German warriors.

As he walks through the ranks of his infantry, you see something very powerful.

What you see is admiration and respect, , , not just from the soldiers, but from both soldiers and from the General. He even stops to speak with one of the soldiers who has a head wound and taps him on the shoulder. You see mutual respect for one another and you get a real sense that both men would do anything to help the other be successful.

In the first five minutes of the movie there are at least 15 examples of leadership and management, , , if you are looking for them.

Whenever I need a morale boost, I pop Gladiator into the DVD player and watch the first five minutes. It’s all I need for a “pick me up”.

Leaders don’t always set out to become leaders. In fact, many leaders probably don’t even realize they are leading when in fact they are having enormous impact upon those around them.

Leaders are developed over time and by consistently doing things that causes others to look at them as leaders. Here are five examples of what creates a leader:

1.  They do the right thing.

2.  They step up and make tough decisions.

3.  They lead by example.

4.  They respect and appreciate the effort of others (managers, peers, and subordinates).

5.  They learn what works and implement replicable processes to succeed.

In the movie Gladiator, I picked up on several leadership and management examples worth noting:

1.  Organization  –  Every part of the army is organized with leadership within each sub-organization to see that the job gets accomplished successfully. A certain amount of structure is needed in any organization to succeed

2.  Process  –  There is a specific process used and replicated to achieve success. Each soldier knows his duties and is trained to handle them.

3.  Supervision  –  Soldiers and the processes are supervised to insure things are carried out appropriately.

4.  Motivation  –  The soldiers are motivated by having achieved success in the past and the goals that lie ahead with one final success in battle. Maximus also delivers a motivational pitch to his cavalry just before the attack to motivate his men.

5.  Inspection  –  Generals inspect components of the plan and processes underway, , , they know that inspection is a key for success.

6.  Strategy  –  The Roman Legions have a simple, coordinated battle strategy that’s very effective. It takes advantage of each element of the army’s strengths and capabilities and attacks the vulnerabilities of the opposing force.

7.  Planning  –  Planning is obvious as you see the battle unfold. Everything works like clockwork. A great strategy won’t work unless you are able to plan and implement effectively.

8.  Providing tools and equipment for the job  –  The soldiers are well equipped and have the support they need to succeed.

9.  Trained employees  –  Action is methodical and coordinated, a sign the soldiers are trained to do their job.

10.  Backup  –  Maximus loses his sword as he enters the battle. A backup sword prevents downtime or loss. I’m pretty sure the General must have been a very early “IT guy”.

11.  Delegation  –  Responsibilities are delegated to competent leaders within the army. One guy can’t do it all.

12.  Communication  –  Communication is key, from discussions with other officers, motivational acknowledgements to the foot soldiers, to the rally delivered to the cavalry. Even the fire arrow signal sent to start the battle is an example of communicating effectively.

13.  Leadership by example – Maximus doesn’t just bark out orders, , , he leads his cavalry into battle. The reason he has so much respect from all levels of the army is that he is willing to do what he asks of his men. He leads by example.

14.  Treating others with respect – You can see mutual respect between the General and the men, , , it starts by the General sincerely respecting what his men do to win battles, , , even the lowest paid soldier in the army.

15.  Teamwork – Soldiers of each component of the army work together as a team and all teams work in a coordinated fashion so the army as a whole can be effective in winning battles.

Who would have guessed that so many leadership skills could be exhibited in the first 5 minutes of a movie?

I encourage you to observe others and incorporate the positives you see into your management style. It can help you achieve more success and promote your career over time.

Best of success,

signature_mike sisco

IT Manager Institute #58

Last week I delivered the 58th IT Manager Institute in Dubai, , , 20 managers from 9 countries.

ITManagerInstitute58_Dubai_October_2013IT Manager Institute #58 – October 2013 – Dubai, UAE

It was a super group of IT managers from several industries including education, oil & gas, banking, government, and healthcare.

See photos of all fifty-eight IT Manager Institute classes at

IT Manager Training – Overview of the IT Manager Institute Program


The IT Manager Institute and ITBMC Certification Program is one of the fastest and most effective ways to develop critical IT management skills.

The program follows a simple IT Management Process™ and provides tools and insights that can be used immediately to help IT managers of all levels achieve more™ success.

itbmcOver 1,000 IT managers from all parts of the world have attended the program in either classroom, webinar, or online Self Study with 100% positive feedback. The reason is simple: our processes and tools are practical, easy to implement, and they work in the real world.

Check out the IT Manager Institute at:



58th IT Manager Institute will be in Dubai – my 9th visit

world-1I just sent an email blast to our IT Manager Institute graduates to tell them of two upcoming classes in Dubai the week of October 20-24, 2013.

It’s always interesting to see who reads the email message and to remember some of the events surrounding past Institute classes and the managers who attended them. Meeting some of the best people and sharing time and knowledge with IT managers of the world has been an unbelievable experience.

Here are the classes I’ll be teaching in Dubai in a couple of weeks.

Brochure_itduedil overviewIT Due Diligence & Assimilation Overview (October 20, 2013) – a 1-day overview of the key issues surrounding IT discovery and transition when dealing with a company acquisition. It is based on my experience in managing the IT support issues in over 40 merger and acquisitions and includes the process and tools developed to do the work.
CLICK HERE for Brochure

IT Manager Institute & ITBMC Program (October 21-24, 2013) – our flagship program devoted to helping IT managers of the world achieve more success includes a comprehensive IT Manager Process with tools and templates. It will be the 58th program overall and 9th to be delivered in Dubai.
CLICK HERE for Brochure.

We expect a big class and I always look forward to visiting Dubai, , , easy to get to, , , all I need is my Passport, , , lots to do in Dubai, , , and great hosts for our class, , , plus I have made some good friends there.

See photos of past classes.

3-day training this weekend for only $27.00

I normally would not share this, but I plan to attend Armand Morin’s 3-day WebCamp program on October 4-6, 2013, , , this weekend.

The $27.00 registration is almost ridiculous for 3 full days of training. A recording will be made available to all who register if you can’t attend or miss part of the training.

Armand will deliver WebCamp live from Las Vegas and will stream it out to those who register and attend from home (like me).

Check out the 3-day agenda and watch the promotion video at

I attended two of Armand’s WebCamps this year that he streamed from his home. What I can tell you is that he educates you by showing exactly what to do, , , step by step.

If you or your company need to discover ways to promote your products or services, you owe it to yourself to attend or tell someone in the marketing or sales organization of your company. One tip could be highly valuable for your company.

I highly recommend Armand. I’ve invested quite a bit in this area over the years and he is by far the best I’ve seen, , , and mainly because he teaches you what to do and how.

What does this have to do with IT management?

Good question. What a resource like this offers is to develop your ability to help your company promote its business by potentially introducing innovative internet marketing techniques. We need to discover ways to help our company succeed and introducing new approaches that use technology fits into this category.

I’m constantly surprised at how many companies do not know about Internet marketing and the cost effectiveness it offers a company. For example, traditional mass mail costs about $15.00 per visitor to your web site, , , Google “pay per click” costs me about $ .26 per visitor, , , significantly more cost effective.

Another example, , , a training technique I introduced to a hospital this year came from what I learned in one of Armand’s classes last year, , , and I use it for my own training program development.

Learning how to promote things via the Internet, social media, using Google ads and other innovative techniques makes you more valuable to your company plus it gives your IT organization an edge in supporting your company.

I can assure you that it will be worth many times your $27.00 investment and thought I should share it with you.

Learn more at