Thursday, 22 August 2013 04:10

Is Ashton Kutcher the perfect role-model for young adults?

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I know, I didn't expect to see those words used in the same sentence either! But (Chris) Ashton Kutcher delivered both a surprising and inspiring leadership speech at the Teen Choice Awards that would be the envy of business leaders and leadership experts the world over. Why? Because it was simple, heartfelt, honest and effective. Not only that, it takes an extraordinary effort to cut through the noise of 10,000 screaming fans and deliver a speech for more than 3 minutes without getting a wind-up from producers.

Why do we think this speech was so special and projects Ashton as a role model? Have a look at the video and the review below.

 

 

Why we love this video:

1. Honesty. Did you know that Ashton's real first name is Chris? Opening up and explaining this to his fans made him seem more real and authentic. When it comes to leadership, you have to be believable, both in your words and your body language. We are conditioned from an early age to pick up the disconnects between the words and body language / facial cues. It is why politicians often have such bad reputations; the disconnect between what they say and what they do, both before and after an election. Ashton's words and body language matched in front of a live audience, making him seem honest and reliable as someone to listen / look up to.

2. Recognising his team. Early in his speech, Ashton makes it clear that his success is based on the actions of his fans (his team). Good leaders take a little bit more of the criticism, and give their team a little bit more of the credit.

3. Values. The three values of opportunity, being sexy (get past the heading, I will explain shortly) and living life both resonated with his audience and again felt authentic. Each of the values had a story attached to it, that was both insightful and personal. 

4. Opportunity. Ashton states that 'opportunity looks a lot like hard work' explaining the difference between luck and success. In our view, luck is when opportunity and hard work meet. The harder you work, the luckier you get. Ashton holds a similar view, explaining the number of menial jobs he worked before getting his break in Hollywood.

5. Being Sexy. As far as Ashton is concerned, being sexy is about being smart, thoughtful and generous. If we could get more students to view sexiness in those terms (using those principles as a guide), I think we could consider ourselves as successful. In a culture that seems both celebrity / body-image / 'selfie' obsessed, this seems like a pretty positive message to send out to young adults. As Ashton stated 'Smart, Thoughtful, Generous. Everything else is crap that people try to sell you to make you feel less, so don't buy it'.

6. Living life. 'When you grow up, you tend to get told that the world is the way it is and to live your life in that world. Life can be broader than that when you remember one little thing. Everything around us was made up by someone who is no smarter than you (the audience)'. 

Smart, thoughtful, generous, work hard, challenge the status quo and being honest - sounds like a pretty good set of values to promote as a role-model. What are your thoughts? Could you use this video to start a discussion on values-based leadership in your School / Year Group?

 

 

Last modified on Monday, 26 August 2013 00:18

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