Workforce Management Lessons You Can Learn from Watching "Armageddon"

Who doesn't love a good movie? One of our favorite guilty pleasures is "Armageddon", a 1998 story about a group of misfits who need to drill into a giant asteroid and nuke it to prevent the end of the world.

Armageddon title hovering over earth.

Movie Credit: Touchstone Pictures & Jerry Bruckheimer Films

Not only does it combine Bruce Willis and Billy Bob Thornton with a little Aerosmith, but it also points out a lot of the top workforce management lessons that most managers and team leaders would do well to learn. Here are a few of our favorites with some killer quotes, too.

Risk: Built by the Lowest Bidder

"You know we're sitting on 4 million pounds of fuel, one nuclear weapon and a thing that has 270,000 moving parts built by the lowest bidder. Makes you feel good, doesn't it?" - Rockhound (Steve Buscemi)

If you came to the same realization about your infrastructure, how would you feel? Sometimes the best personnel management tip around isn't looking at your people, but what they're working with. Even the best team needs good equipment to avoid disaster.

Risk: Will Your Partner Be Around in the Future?

Dan (Billy Bob Thornton): "Can they physically survive the trip? That's all I need to know here, OK?"

Dr. Banks (John Aylward) "Personally, I don't know how they survived the tests."

As the ragtag crew tried to train to survive in space, calling the mission a gamble was putting it in the most positive light possible. So, what does that mean for team management tips?

Invest wisely so you don't have to pick a last resort and cross your fingers. While the "Armageddon" crew do come through in the end, with a few losses, there are countless businesses closing their doors because they bet everything on the wrong team and didn't listen to what dangers their initial tests and trials showed.

Risk: Using Only Familiar Tech

Grace Stamper (Liv Tyler): "Listen, Harry, A.J. is my choice - my choice and not yours."

Harry Stamper (Bruce Willis): "He's the only one in your age bracket, Grace. It's not a choice; it's a lack of options."

Young love doesn't often look too far to find someone to fixate on, and pretty much all of us can relate. Most of us know how disastrous that can be.

So, why would someone do that in business? Why limit yourself to just the technology or manual processes you're familiar with?

Disruption and the adoption of new technologies revolutionize industries all the time. Taxi companies with terrible mobile services have taken major hits from Uber, and competition from Netflix created years of subscriber losses for pay-TV companies.

Don't just look at the tech you know, look at what's rising in your and other niches. Whether it's a SaaS time management platform, energy-efficient building management or just a smarter smoke alarm, lagging behind can often mean you're limiting your options and your chance to grow.

Risk: Operational Efficiency and Cost Savings Are Important to Know

President (Stanley Anderson): "Dan, we didn't see this thing coming?

Dan: "Well, our object collision budget's a million dollars; that allows us to track about 3 percent of the sky, and beg'n your pardon, sir, but it's a big-ass sky."

Workforce management lessons often come back to money and control of assets. Sometimes you'll need to limit investments to maintain cost savings, but other times it makes more sense to spend more to maximize your efficiencies.

We're not saying you need to spend all your revenues just to watch the sky, but monitoring just 3 percent of your potential risks can quickly lead you to a business-ending situation. You don't want to get caught depending on the last possible resort using the worst possible equipment, so take time each month to check your operations for risk and verify that cost-saving measures aren't also risk-increasing problems.

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