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Leadership and Bones – We Can’t All Be Seeley Booth

Sometimes I have to step away from my social media sports analogies – so my Vickery Girls will read my posts :). They do not care about who is playing for the Denver Broncos or Denver Nuggets and how that may relate to social media engagement. Tennis court surface analogies are lost on them, and I think they are tired about me taking about Zone Training.

But talk about Coffee TimeTexas Tall Tales…or one of our favorite TV shows, and they are moths to a flame (rather pretty moths, I might add). In an effort to bring value to my other readers, let’s talk about the Leadership/teammate qualities on display in Bones.

  • Dr. Temperance ‘Bones’ Brennan – The TV show does not exist without Temperance Brennan, and some of our teams and companies would not exist without her equivalent. She is by far the most intelligent person in the room, she is uncompromising and relentless when it comes to pursuit of the facts while refusing sloppy guesswork, and she is usually unencumbered by any emotional attachment that might cloud her judgment. However, these same strengths are frequently her blind spots. A leader or “team of one” could not survive solely with these traits. Company Roles: CEO, CMO, Chief Strategy Officer, or software/data architect.
  • Special Agent Seeley Booth – Booth is the battle-scarred, alpha-male who relies heavily on intuition and past experiences. He and Brennan start out as polar opposites because of their different problem-solving approaches. Brennan distrusts intuition and guesswork, and Booth distrusts “squints” (highly intelligent academics) who lack street-smarts. Together, they make the ideal tandem that plays to its strengths, and they learn to defer to their partner when appropriate. Company Roles: CEO, Human resources, business analyst, marketing, public relations.
  • Angela Montenegro – Angela can be impulsive, and she sees the world through the lens of her heart. While other cast characters view the evidence with clinical detachment, or a black-and-white understanding of right and wrong, Angela sees the gray areas where passionate emotions could drive the perpetrator. Angela is the primary character that “humanizes” the team. Company Roles: Project manager, business analyst, human resources, marketing.
  • Dr. Jack Hodgins – Sometimes you need “that guy” – the guy who will roll up his sleeves and get knee-deep in bugs and slime to help the team meet its goals and objectives. He is an encyclopedia of both technical knowledge and historical context. Here is one of his best non-funny quotes in the series: I can’t just guess! I have a process! Every team should be so lucky as to have a couple of these types of team members. Company Roles: CFO, CIO, software/data architect, lead developer.
  • Dr. Camille Saroyan – Camille brought her own forensic skills to the lab, but what makes her invaluable to the team is her willingness to be the administrator. A gifted team can still be wasted if not efficiently guided and managed. Someone also needs to make sure the bills get paid and the lights stay on! And someone needs to be the public face of accountability that shelters the team from distractions. Company Roles: COO, CIO, CFO, public relations, mid-level management, project manager, team lead.
  • Dr. Lance Sweets – Sweets adds the doctorates and case study background to Booth’s natural intuition and Angela’s understanding of how passions drive people. He understands that psychology plays an important role in both crimes and team dynamics. Company Roles: Marketing, human resources, public relations, project managers and mid-level management.

As you read this post, did you visualize your own organization? Did you see where everyone has a role in successful team execution? Did you see any gaps in your organization where introducing a role may help its efficiency?

Thanks to Netflix for introducing my family to Bones – a show we enjoy watching as a family!

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Brian Vickery

I love my Vickery Girls - and grandsons! My career has blessed me to the point I was able to start a new consultancy in 2018: Analytic Integrity. I look to provide analytic experience, and business integrity, to an Analytics world while helping data-driven organizations mature. I enjoy teaching and coaching, watching football and basketball, and playing tennis. I graduated UT-Austin.

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  1. Brian, I love this post! I love all your posts, but this one, in particular, resonates with me because I could pluck it from your site and use it right in the classroom. So often, I will take fictitious characters from television or movies and ask students to analyze their behaviors based on communication concepts/theories. When students can relate the material to something that they really enjoy, they retain the terms/theories far more easily. I haven’t watched Bones before, but I think I need to now. Want to Skype in and teach this lesson with me in the fall? Ellen

    • Skype…Google+ Hangout…let me know what you need, Ellen. I think the Bones cast is a great example because it definitely presents a diverse personality pool…for a successful team. You also see how each character plays to his or her strengths, yet they have become much better at understanding the others’ perspectives as the seasons have progressed.

      I agree that finding the right topics/material to keep the students engaged, especially if it is culturally relevant, goes a long way towards knowledge retention.

  2. Love it! (But then I really enjoy some of the sports posts too!) I will send this one to my niece, she’s a huge fan of Bones. :)

    • Thanks, Janice. My kids already have our whole family pegged, but I think their viewpoint is a little screwball ;)!

      And glad that you enjoy the sports posts since that is still about 95% of what I post on this site and 12 Most!

  3. My family watches a LOT of TV – well my younger son and wife do – and some of it provokes good discussion while – in my opinion – MOST of it is a waste of time. I don’t know the show you’ve written about BV due to my lack of TV watching but I love how you’ve used it for discussion and metaphors! Good change from the sports stuff! LOL…

    • We didn’t watch much TV when raising our girls; however, we’ve gone back and watched TV Series on NetFlix since they became teens. Bones is an intelligent show with nice character development and humor. We watched Glee because we love the tight vocals and choreography. We just finished watching Raising Hope – goofy show that still has some heartfelt family moments. And of course, my kids have watched The Office and Scrubs (I watch on occasion).

  4. I like how you related each character to the roles people play in the work place and in leadership. I have no clue about the show, but I’ll have to give more thought to how my department works in relation to the characters! =)

    • I think there are about 8 years of the show now, and we just got clued into it last year. Watched one last night, in fact! I do think it is fun to overlay distinct personality types, like what are represented in the Bones series, on our own team members. Of course, taking informal Myers-Briggs tests can be fun, too. For example, I am an introvert. Most people will not guess that because I frequently speak/sing in front of groups of people, and I obviously like the friendly banter on social media. I’m also the one usually popping off during sport competitions.

      However, I need downtime to recharge and maintain my sanity. Extroverts feed off of the energy of other people, so they keep their energy level high. I get depleted and need to find a quiet place with a good book and/or music!

  5. Hi, I really identify with the character of Seeley Booth. My wife is very much like Bones. I have consistently tested out ENFP and wondered if you think that is an accurate profile for Seeley Booth?

    • Intriguing – I’ve never tried to derive a mapping for each character…but I bet it is in the “sample profiles” you find on some of the Myers-Briggs sites. Considering I am an ISTJ, that implies I’m a polar opposite to Booth. That would not be accurate though because I very much go off of first impressions before I have any empirical evidence about someone.