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How to Motivate & Engage The 80%ers

By Scott DiGiammarino & Kelly Kantrowitz | Posted 5/6/2020
Let's face it: we live in a competitive world. We compete in the boardroom, the classroom, the workplace, on the field during sporting events, and even on social media (because how could you possibly measure your worth without accumulating enough Instagram “likes?”). Regardless of what we’re doing, at the end of the day, we’ll always be compared and measured against one another.

But, guess what? Competition is healthy. It fuels people’s drive. It sparks innovation, creativity, and pushes people to accomplish things they never thought they were capable of. Simply put, competition is what fosters positive change.

From this innate and instinctual need to measure humanity arises a natural bell curve that consists of a top 10%, a bottom 10%, those who fall smack-dab in the middle. This is where the vast majority of people live...the 80%ers.

Here’s the reality: depending on the task, some people will just naturally excel; they’re the rockstars that make up the top 10%. They’re the captain of their basketball team. They ace every exam without even studying. When turning on the news, there they are, talking about the success of their new tech startup business. They just seem to crush it on an ongoing basis.

Then we have the bottom 10%. These are the really good, hard working people who give it their all, but for some reason, things just don’t seem to click for them. Maybe they’re in the wrong major, the wrong sport, or the wrong career. Maybe they need a reboot or another option. Whatever the case may be, they have a tremendous amount of potential, and with some guidance and support they can potentially pivot and excel at anything they’d like to do.

Then we have the vast majority of the world...the 80%ers. They’re the dedicated, focused, well-intentioned individuals who possess an enormous amount of talent and ability. But for some reason, they always land in the middle. And sometimes, they feel stuck. At this juncture, they begin losing confidence and self-esteem, which could ultimately lead them to become disengaged, checked out, and on the verge of quitting. And we all know that, in every business, the cost of recruiting, training, and retaining talent has never been more expensive.

Studies show that these 80%ers have the potential for greatness. They have the ability, the drive, the determination, the desire, and the work ethic to do incredible things. But they need leadership more than ever because without great leadership, most will never reach their true potential.

At MovieComm, we believe that leadership truly matters – regardless of whether you’re a corporate leader from a manager on up to a CEO, a trainer, a professor, a teacher, a coach, or even a parent. In our minds, anybody whose role it is to influence behavior, is a leader.

These leaders can be categorized by the same bell curve as employees and students. There are the 10% who just get it. There are the bottom 10% who probably got the role by hanging tough all these years, or they’re unconsciously competent meaning what they do naturally may not be taught or able to replicate as they just do. And then, there are leaders who are part of the 80% club. It’s this group who can help change the world.

Think about it…

Have you ever worked for a boss who completely rocked your world? One that inspired you to venture well beyond your comfort zone? Or, on the flip side, a boss that was flat-out awful? One that was so toxic, so out of touch, and so inflexible (the “my way or the highway” type of leader) that the pure discouragement led you to quit, both physically and emotionally?

How about the discrepancy between an inspiring and unforgettable professor who truly changes your perspective on life versus that dreadful one we’ve all had. You know the type – drones on and on with zero thought or engagement with their students and you just snooze through their painfully-boring lecture. Hands up if you’d rather have the first one!

This way of thinking is also applicable to sports. You could play for a coach who’s encouraging, moving, and always believes you can succeed. They’re so impactful that you’d practically do anything for them – even if that meant running through a brick wall (PSA: please don’t attempt to run through a brick wall). On the other hand, there are the coaches of the world that berate their team every minute of their practice or game. That type of mindset just ain’t gonna cut it in today’s world. It’s so dreadfully old school.

Bottom line...Great leaders make a difference. And the terrible leaders out there, they can ruin lives.

What it takes to be great…

To be an outstanding leader, you have to genuinely care. At your very core, is a deep-seated belief that ordinary people are capable of doing extraordinary things. You have to understand your audience so well, that you’re willing and able to adapt your style and tactics to resonate with your audience – speaking to them in a language that’s conducive to their needs. You fully comprehend and respect how these individuals want to learn, their preferred training style, and the type of communication you need to be effective.

The challenging part is most leaders are apprehensive about adapting their style. A vast majority of today’s leaders were raised and trained in a manner that reflects their generation. Similar to politics when we talk about reaching across the aisle, we need to accept that our workforce is begging us to acknowledge its diversity and embrace it.

Adjusting your leadership style to meet generational demands and aspirations is key to your future success. But in today's world of Zoom, Webex, and Google Hangouts, for many, it’s a whole new world where they have to use technology and teach from afar. For the masses, it feels like being forced to learn an entirely new language.

The other challenge for today’s 80%ers is only a handful of companies invest in personal and leadership development. The result? Today's leaders are required to use methodologies that are 20, 30, and even 40 years old. Come on, that’s not going to cut it in today’s environment.

Many are finally coming to the realization that today, over half the global workforce consists of the video generation (Millennials and Gen Z). That number will jump to 75% by 2025. What this means is that if today’s leaders don’t care, don’t understand, or don’t pivot to meet the learning needs of this talented and inspirational generation, they are going to receive a sobering wake-up call someday soon when productivity, retention, and overall profitability take a nosedive.

It’s imperative that today’s leadership style is adjusted to meet generational demands. It’s time for our leaders to reinvent themselves and stop relying on outdated strategies for engagement and motivation. This new generation deserves it, regardless of where they fall on the bell curve.

Lastly...just imagine what the world could be like if we inspired, engaged, and connected with people the way they want to be connected with. It would be incredible to see the number of lives you could truly change!

Innovative tools that can help...

MovieComm (www.moviecomm.com) exists because we believe in people’s vast potential, but we also believe that it takes great leadership to help them tap into it. But leaders need new and innovative tools to help them along the way. By incorporating short, entertaining, and memorable Hollywood movie clips into your lessons, training, emails, and presentations, your audience will be engaged, retain the information, and be affected on a deeper, emotional level.

We believe that leadership is everything.
We believe that leadership can make a difference.
We believe that leadership matters.

Especially for the 80%ers!!

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