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Batman v Superman v Predictability

by Eric Baker
on 2016-03-23

Is it necessary to issue a spoiler alert before talking about a movie you haven’t actually seen yet? It’s not like everyone doesn’t already know what’s going to happen in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. The title pretty much gives away the whole story.

Right smack in the center of the film’s IMDB page, a mini synopsis tells you the plot. This space used to be reserved for the logline of a film, which is basically the “hook” in one or two short sentences. Not anymore. Now, if you read IMDB beforehand, you can sit down in the theater confident that you won’t have to experience a single moment of surprise or discovery.

That’s not a problem for today’s audiences, apparently. Surprise and discovery are overrated. We’ve practically given the ending away ourselves, haven’t we, with that action-packed image at the top of this post that is not a stock photo at all but a real scene from the film’s climax.

To be fair, although some of us feel the predictable, reliable route in cinema is boring, we understand that predictability and reliability have their place. Like cars, for example. We want our cars to start every morning, run smoothly, and handle the same way at 65MPH as they do at 25MPH. Perhaps our tolerance for predictability depends on the situation. Let’s explore.

Something we do want to be predictable: The pre-employment assessment we use to hire staff members. A good pre-employment assessment accurately predicts the on-the-job behaviors we will eventually see from our applicants, should we decide to hire them. We can count on this assessment, because it has been rigorously researched and tested to meet the highest standards in the assessment industry for scientific validity.

Something we don’t want to be predictable: Sports. Who would watch sports if we knew how every game would end ahead of time? Imagine if you had a magic coin that, if you threw it into the ocean, would guarantee your favorite baseball team never lost another game.  You’d lose your passion for the sport you once loved enough to spend your magic coin on. That’s a free movie idea, by the way, in case any Hollywood people are reading.

Something we do want to be predictable: The tools we use to help us hire the right people, develop them as individual contributors and as leaders, and build effective teams that enable our organizations to run more efficiently and profitably.

Something we don’t want to be predictable: The length of a corporate blog post. Once we highlight the day’s topic, provide some insight, and find a way to subtly (or, if we’re being honest, clumsily) promote our products and services, posts seem to reach their logical conclusions at about 475 words. Well, not today! Today is the day everything changes in the corporate blog world.

Or not.