Movieclips Monday: Lessons from a sword master

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Posted by Chris Hediger

January 9, 2012

For today’s Movieclips Monday, I’d like to focus on a lesser-known person from the motion picture industry, Bob Anderson, who passed away last week. Bob Anderson is not a household name, but if you’ve already seen today’s Movieclips Monday feature, you’re likely familiar with his work.

Bob Anderson was a stunt double and fencing coach who started in Hollywood working with Errol Flynn. When he inadvertently cut Flynn’s thigh during a rehearsal one day (Flynn, predictably, had been distracted by an attractive woman on the set), Anderson became known as the man who stabbed Errol Flynn. However, after working on a number of successful films, his moniker changed to the much more reputable "sword master."

Anderson coached Sean Connery in “Highlander” and Antonio Benderas in “The Mask of Zorro.” Most recently, he trained the actors in Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. He also donned the Darth Vader mantle in the light saber battles in both “The Empire Strikes Back” and “The Return of the Jedi.” The sword fight in this clip from “The Princess Bride” might be one of Anderson’s most challenging and entertaining endeavors.


Bob Anderson’s legacy is relevant to the workforce themes we discuss here because his work was so impactful, yet his contribution was only known by a handful of people. How many people in our professional lives contribute to our success, but rarely receive the recognition they deserve?

Over the past few months, we’ve written several articles about employee engagement and retaining top talent. Recognizing the rarely seen, yet important contributors is a crucial part of engagement and might help keep them on your team.

Find ways to recognize these vital contributors. Go to their desks and say thank you. Identify them by name when successes are celebrated. Write notes to each of these important players, highlighting their contribution and how it helps to make the company a greater success. It might be a big step in keeping them happy with their work -- work that has resonance, but rarely voice.

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