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What Do The Oscars Mean For You And Your Success?

What Do The Oscars Mean For You And Your Success?

Peter Guber, entrepreneur and bestselling author of Tell To Win, relates the process of winning an Oscar to the process of getting ahead in your career:

The short answer is that winning the Academy Award is a political game and those who play it best, most often win. And this is absolutely true for your career and your business.

Having personally produced or executive produced films that have been nominated for over 50 Academy Awards, including winning Best Picture for Rain Man, I’ve lost count how many times I’ve been asked why some movies or talent are selected for awards, while others aren’t.

Likewise, many of us have faced the conundrum of why seemingly similar candidates, one of whom is selected for that new job, promotion, recognition program, mentor relationship, entrepreneurial opportunity, club, team, position on a board of directors, while the other is not. While your experience and expertise certainly matter, what matters as much or more is your power to influence and move others. In our age of “decision by committee,” there are always “others.”

This political prowess requires engaging a set of T.A.L.E.N.T boosters designed to infuse you with the strategic knowhow to capture your selection committees’ attention and convert it to the intention you desire.

T.eam – Who are your “players” and how have you empowered them to promote your unique qualities and offering to your decision-makers? Whether it’s PR, promotion, marketing or even just advocacy from respected and legitimate sources, all must be mobilized for your success. Best of all, it does not require an enormous budget to empower this online and offline advocacy of influencers in your favor.

In my movie industry, the word of mouth or buzz provided by folks with proven credentials means more than all the expensive print ads and television spots in influencing Academy Award voters.

A.udience – What are your audience’s fears, dreams and hopes? Do your homework! Realize your audience may be the selection committee who is made up of your customers, clients, patrons and colleagues, so you must research their demographic and psychographic profiles and develop unique messages that strongly convey the “what’s in it for them” so they select you.

This is why some filmmakers, understanding the significantly older demographic profile of Academy voters, rather than send DVDs of their films to be screened as is the traditional process, literally trudge down personally to places like the Motion Picture Home, where this seemingly disenfranchised older group reside to personally show their film and share their experience to influence votes.

L.ikeability – The decision-makers you seek to move have to like you, even if you don’t like them. Put your ego aside and with an authentic voice and attitude, realize that relationships trump transactions. Aim for their heart. It’s the most sustainable highway to their wallet. Playing well in the sandbox matters.

The best Oscar nominees know how to work the system. They create the relationship long before the nomination process. This gives them a great head start and has the selection committee leaning forward when they come with their offering.

E.motional Connections – How have you emotionally connected to your decision-makers? If you’re trying to connect using facts, figures and data alone, you and your cause will likely be forgotten. It’s not that information is unimportant. It’s very important as it validates your credibility. Unfortunately, it’s not memorable. However, when you bond this critical information with their emotional experience or embed it into a narrative which gives them an emotional experience or demonstrate it through visual and physical interaction, you share a deeper and more resonant mindshare, which in the cacophony of our world, is vital real estate.

In the Oscar world, films and people that have great emotional propulsion tend to create the most buzz. And, buzz is a currency that is earned and valuable.

N.egativity – Don’t express negativity. It pollutes the process. A boatload of enthusiasm and positive propositioning may not get there. But, two ounces of negativity will definitely prevent you from getting there, wherever your “there” is.

Negativity around the person or the film in the Oscar process is generally an anathema to a positive result. Voters tend to be empathetic to positive behavior. Consider the bad behavior of Woody Allen or Tom Cruise – both superstars deserving of Oscar recognition – but some behavior in their past, having nothing to do with their films, affected the selection process.

T.enacity –Every journey to success is filled with a puncture of two. Showing your selection committee how you overcame your speed bumps and failures with perservance and a critical eye to analyze what went wrong is a valuable attribute. Shining the light on your failure and the process you used to overcome it, demonstrates your passion and commitment for success, which is a critical insight into your character and the characteristics of your talent. It’s an asset that should not be ignored.

Oscar voters always love an underdog, especially one that has been improperly ignored a number of times.

By Peter Guber,, February 22, 2013