Three governance lessons from Home Alone

Image: © Disney 

Like many lunch rooms across Australia, we’ve been discussing our favourite Christmas movies. A Christmas Story and Miracle on 34th Street ranked highly — but Home Alone was the stand out here at Governance Institute. Which then got me thinking about the core governance and risk management lessons in this movie…

1. Culture: Don’t walk past what you can’t accept
There are so many red flags in this movie that people simply choose to ignore. And as a result, a poor child is left home alone to fend off two criminals.

  • The lady on the checkout doesn’t inform the authorities that a child has been shopping alone…
  • The pizza guy doesn’t think to call the police to say that he overheard a shooting in the house — “Keep the change, ya filthy animal.”
  • And Santa… A child tells you that his entire family is missing and begs for you to help bring them back. And you do nothing!

2. Resilience is key

Image: © Disney 

In a blog earlier this year, we talked about resilience and the ability to encounter and manage risks, challenges and adversity, and to learn and grow from the experience. In this story, our hero Kevin —who must be pretty traumatised seeing as his family forgot about him and travelled to an entirely new continent without realising — still manages to dig deep and use his inner strength, agility and intuition to overcome unexpected challenges and staunchly defend his house from the Wet Bandits.

“This is my house. I have to defend it.” — Kevin

3. Ethical remuneration packages

Was Mr McAllister (Kevin’s dad) being overpaid? Over the years, our Ethics Index has found that the more a CEO is paid, the less ethical Australians believe they are. Perhaps Home Alone backs this up. Leaving your child behind in the attic doesn’t exactly suggest ‘ethical parenting’.

This article suggests that Kevin’s dad was able to spend $35K (US) on flights alone for the festive trip to Paris. It cost so much that they never even noticed that Kevin’s ticket wasn’t used — surely that’s excessive?


What governance lessons have you found in your favourite festive films? Let me know in the comments below.

Enjoy a safe and Happy Christmas and holiday break!

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