Gusteau (from the movie Ratatouille): You must be imaginative, strong-hearted. You must try things that may not work, and you must not let anyone define your limits because of where you come from. Your only limit is your soul. What I say is true – anyone can cook…but only the fearless can be great.
A quick look through our news and stories articles will make you realize that nobody has the same idea of leadership; everybody defines leadership differently. So what is leadership? At ILead we define leadership as starting with the self, using that self-awareness to work in teams, and then going on to create societal change. In Ratatouille, the movie about Remy’s journey from being a starry-eyed rat to the owner and chef of a popular restaurant, perfectly embodies this ideology. Any leadership journey starts with a belief and motivation, and Remy’s love for cooking combined with his strong belief that rats and humans can work together set him apart from the rest of his clan. Of course, a belief without a competency or skill would be futile, but Remy has spent a considerable amount of time perfecting his craft. Not only does he have an incredible sense of smell and a highly sophisticated palate, he also learns how to read cooking books to educate himself further.
Soon, Remy is estranged from his family and finds himself in his role model, the late Chef Gusteau’s kitchen. Thus, taking the first step in his leadership journey. In the kitchen, he notices the new garbage boy, Linguini, accidentally knocking down a pot of soup and adding random ingredients to fix it. A horrified Remy, takes initiative and improves the soup. This “performance” is witnessed by Linguini and he is inspired to do what many may consider insane. He takes Remy home and provides him with a place to sleep in exchange for helping him in the kitchen. By being a role model, Remy inspires Linguini to take a chance.
However, Remy cannot spend the rest of his life under Linguini’s hat. Our little hero has bigger things to achieve. Remy displays his resilience by challenging his father and the status quo by exclaiming , “Change is nature, Dad. The part that we can influence. And it starts when we decide”, when his father demands that he return home. However, Remy’s immaturity and dishonesty is soon seen when he is caught letting his rat clan into the kitchen. He is subsequently kidnapped and after some self-reflection he finally accepts that he is a chef despite his family’s apprehensions. Hence, displaying that self-reflection is crucial for a leader to grow and improve. After his escape, he shows up to Gusteau’s kitchen and while he isn’t welcomed, Linguini stands up for Remy showing that even nervous little Linguini had it in him to be a leader and deviate from the status quo. Upon this revelation, the whole kitchen staff leaves.
Remy does not lose heart which inspires his whole family to come out and help that evening, the same evening Paris’ biggest critic, Anton Ego, is visiting the restaurant. With his humble dish Remy inspires Ego to stand for something new. Of course, upon the discovery that there are rats in the kitchen, the restaurant is swiftly shut down. But soon enough with some investment from Ego, Remy and Linguini manage to set up a beautiful restaurant run solely by rats. The restaurant is more more popular than Gusteau’s kitchen ever was. Remy fulfills all that is required from a good leader and goes further to make sure his organization thrives. Linguini finds a role more suited to him and his talents. They consistently deliver to their stakeholders and Remy is considered a game changer. He proved that humans and rats could work and live together in peace. He delivered on his vision.
So what Gusteau says is true – anyone can cook and we at ILead also believe the same – anyone can lead!
– Namya Syal