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8 February, 2011 / Karl Maier

Secretariat Movie: Culture of a Small Business

Secretariat

Secretariat

The movie, Secretariat, tells the story of Secretariat, a super horse. But it also tells the story of a small business with several key employees.  In fact, much of the story is about the culture of a horse breeding and horse racing venture, Meadow Stables.

When Chris Chenery is no longer able to run the business, his grown daughter and house wife, Penny takes the reigns of the business.  Penny reflects on some of the values her father taught her growing up, particularly “life is ahead of you and you run at it, because you never know how far you can go”.  She relies on her values to make difficult decisions that often conflict with the plans of her brother and her husband as she literally bets the farm on her grand vision that Secretariat will with the Triple Crown.

Penny’s values guide her as she builds a team including her secretary, horse handler, trainer, jockey and financial adviser.  The combination of decisions and personnel she brings together yield a culture of “have the will to win if you can and live with it if you lose”.   The team’s Stage Four culture supports decentralized decision making by the trainer and jockey.  In the end, the team does not back down, rejoices in each day and see their great vision achieved.

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