Monday, November 11th, 2013
You Can Learn a lot from “The Internship”
This weekend, I decided I needed an easy day at the gym. I’ve been pounding hard all week and it was time for my shins, knees, and other joints to take a break. So I downloaded a movie I missed in the theatres, The Internship, starring Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson, packed up my iPad and headed off to the gym for a brisk walk on the treadmill. I spent two hours on the treadmill because the movie held my attention enough to not pay attention to the time passing.
So why is this hilarious comedy making it into my first blog of the week? In between jokes and silliness, there were two things that stood out to someone like me who is a connoisseur of communication techniques and styles. First, Vince Vaughn’s use of pop images to set a vision for his team so they may achieve beyond their own expectations and second, his character’s people skills to change minds and build a following.
So let’s look at what worked: every time his team felt inadequate he told the story of the troubled girl in the mining town who danced her way out of troubles and onward to success. If you’re slow to recognize iconic films of the 80’s, he was referring to the storyline of the movie Flashdance. While the team of millennials felt the imagery to be silly, outdated and ridiculous, there is something timeless about the movie, the premise, and the universal need for individuals to follow their dreams. By the end of the movie, the team was reminding Vaughn of the girl in the mining town. They became the winning team and sang and danced to “What a Feelin’” while they celebrated their final sale.
Now, I’m not saying that you need to find a scene from a 30 year old movie to rally your team, but creating a vision that everyone knows, understands and can buy into, is a very big part of one’s ability to effectively lead a team. Find a story your team can get behind and use it to keep them engaged, inspired and active.
Next, while success was all that was important to Vaughn’s closest rival team, they missed a key factor of achieving one’s goal…people skills. I won’t regurgitate any lines from “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” but I will say that when one becomes so monoscopic that they are willing to win at any cost, success is rare, and when it comes, it’s usually fleeting.
With everyone now tethered to all things mobile and digital, there is collective slide backwards in interpersonal communication skills, abilities to read a listener’s body language, and trust building. You can’t build loyalty, trust, or even interest with a text message, email, or social media exchange. Those things only come with face-to-face or at the very least phone contact. So if you have employees who are customer facing, or service internal customers in other departments, what are you doing to enhance their interpersonal skills? Do you coach them on phone and email etiquette? Have you done role-plays around customer interactions, and give specific feedback? If the answer is no, you’re not getting the most out of your employees, and thereby shorting your business’ opportunity for success.
Watch the movie, take a page out of the Vince Vaughn playbook, and if you can’t go from there, give us a call. We can help the digitally addicted find the human connection for better business.
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