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Blockbuster Movies: It's As Much About Science As Art - And So Is Growth Too!

I wonder if you can name the top 10 highest grossing films of all time?

I couldn't until I Googled it! With Avatar in number one place, a list of memorable films follow including: Avengers, Titanic, Star Wars, Jurassic World, Furious 7, and Frozen II, with Lion King, one of my favorites, at number 7.

But what makes for a blockbuster movie nowadays?

As a father, and as I would claim, a fully grown, stable adult, watching films with my daughter through the years, I realized that there is as much a science as art in the production of the modern film.

"How else could you explain why films about a racing snail, a rat turned chef, Dusty the Crop Hopper, or a karaoke competition in an imaginary world filled full of animals could make a grown man cry?"

And, as I looked around the movie theaters through the guise of darkness and my snivelly Kleenex I realized that I wasn't the only one!

It was from these experiences that I realized there were comparisons to be made with the function of business to business growth. Here are my meanderings on the topic:

"How often have you heard the saying, 'he (or she) could sell ice to Eskimos, they were so good at sales'?"

I have always had a fundamental issue with this statement as not only is the premise so outdated, that even when perhaps it wasn't (if ever), it suggests that selling is some sort of grift as opposed to a science designed to solve client challenges and build long term, mutually valued and sustained business relationships.

The reason why these blockbusters are so successful is that they have applied a science to the artform and created a certain framework that optimizes the odds of success:

It's a Team Sport
There's a reason why at the end of the movie the credits are so long - it takes a village to make a successful film. The storytelling, the audience appeal, setting the stage, the musical composition, the marketing, the execution, and delivery. Just a few of literally hundreds of elements that make a successful blockbuster film.
One Actor doesn't make a Film
Films that rely on one actor often disappoint the box office. The cast and balance of characters are equally if not more important. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts, a favorite saying, or Strength in the power of the collective, another - the same applies in business.
Listen, Learn, and Understand your Audience
In the world of business growth - who is your target audience? Where are they? In what sectors? What are their philosophies? Do you align? Through careful Client Profiling, then you can narrow down your audience and optimize your chances of success.
Make Emotional Connections
Beyond the product or thing that you are selling, through listening, learning, and understanding, how can you make meaningful connections that matter to your audience the most?

Consumers and customers who believe that you understand them are more likely to buy and remain with you for the long term - this is why we watch films multiple times, cant wait for the sequel or the next in the series - through emotional connections we build loyalty.
And, make sure the product is good (or better still, GREAT)
It might sound obvious, but whatever business you're in, your product needs to not only do what it says on the tin, but also surprise and delight and exceed consumer expectations. Look at some of the most successful organizations in the world, they're built on great products and great customer experiences at the core.
Take a good look in the mirror
The difference between a good actor and a great actor is that they have the ability to deeply self-reflect. In fact, the very best actors are often their own biggest critics. Take a step back and scrutinize what you do, how you do it, what your audience really think is crucially important - often difficult and sometimes painful, but absolutely essential to success.
Keep the Extraordinary, discard the ordinary
Every movie has a graveyard of shots, film, and scenes that end up on the cutting room floor. It's fine to discard the ordinary to keep and optimize the extraordinary. Constantly review your performance, keep the great bits and disregard the not so great. Again, this may be painful, it may need you to step back, but its also essential.

So, whatever your story, script, your film, make sure that you follow suit with the movie world and include all the key ingredients to turn it into a blockbuster.

4xi: Inspiring the future, together.


Simon Elliot is Managing Partner and Co-founder of 4xi Global Consulting & Solutions, is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development (CIPD), Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM), and a Fellow of the Institute of Directors (IoD). He is also passionate about the world of work experience and is Chair of the WORKTECH Academy for North America.


In tackling the many complexities of winning better, retaining better business, 4xi's TRUE NORTH© is a platform for Charting a Journey to Strategic Partnership.

After many years of working with overly complicated (and expensive) methodologies, rather than practical applications to improve business, they just gathered dust in sales leaders draws.

We wanted to create something that was practical, realistic, and that would act as a daily framework to improve retention and growth.

TRUE NORTH© tackles the basics from the Foundations of Partnership, Performance vs. Trust, the Partnership Lifecycle, and maps out the journey to success.

It addresses the fundamentals of Portfolio Management, of Data, Information, and Insights. Takes you through a series of self-refection exercises, and Account Management plans, and profiling Ideal Client Targets.

TRUE NORTH© employs the 5-Light Risk and Situational Assessment throughout as a means to measure performance and comparison to help you focus on the things that matter, identify risk, and opportunity.

In the final chapter, Onward, TRUE NORTH© goes through the process of creating Partnership Plans and the ultimate strategic target of creating a Partnership Charter with your key clients, designed to literally get you on the same page.

Interested to learn more about 4xi, and TRUE NORTH©, then contact us today to see how we can help you today to retain better, win better business for tomorrow.


4xi Global Workplace Consulting & Solutions provides a range of services to support Corporations, Service Providers, Innovators, and Accelerators to navigate the world of work. Inspiring the future of work, together.

4xi is proud to be Chair of WORKTECH Academy for North America and a member of its Leadership Advisory Board. 4xi is a Global Ambassador for WORKTECH Academy.

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