My post proclaiming that You Need to Watch Movie Clips at Work has been stirring up a lot of interest lately. (I literally got a call from Abu Dabi about it. ABU! DABI!) Figured I should sketch in some more details for anyone with questions who hasn’t ginned up the nerve to pick up the phone and ask.



The people you train will be intrigued by a movie clip and (hopefully) completely blindsided by an emotion that engages their brain and heart. Expecting another boring meeting or memo, they get captured, an audience with undivided attention that willingly follows your lead.

Showing your team ethics and compliance related movie clips will achieve five things:

#1  Create unforgettable teachable moments.

Instead of giving employees forgettable instructions on honesty, they’ll be shocked and thrilled by the scene you share of a star like Leonardo DiCaprio bluffing his way through his job.

#2 Place ethics and compliance concepts in tangible situations.

Some people just don’t get it until they see it in action. For instance, you’d think they’d understand a clear directive like, “Don’t take bribes.” But you can never assume since everybody’s brains work differently. They might be thinking, “What if it’s non-monetary compensation? Or a gift? What if there’s no expectation of quid pro quo?”

They’ll get the picture in crystal clear Hi Def when you show a movie clip of someone getting handcuffed for accepting a bribe.

#3 Create a common language among employees.

I’m not talking the English language, here, but a cultural language. Back in the dinosaur days of the twentieth century, Americans shared a common pop cultural language because there were only three channels with new TV shows each night. You could say, “What choo talkin’ ‘bout, Willis?” or “yada yada yada” or threaten to call in the A-Team to solve a problem and pretty much everybody knew what you were talking about.

Nowadays, the only thing most people will know is A) who won the Super Bowl and B) who died on The Walking Dead.

Showing your entire team a movie clip will begin creating a shared language, a shorthand for ethical behavior that references the clips they’ve all seen. Everyone will get it when someone’s invading privacy and they hum the “Batman” theme or they caution someone not to “pull a Clooney” with their expense reports.

#4 Provide a vicarious learning opportunity.

Those are just fancy words for “people can learn without having to actually do it.” More importantly, your team can learn by watching someone else suffer from bad/incorrect behavior, thus making the smart move when faced with a similar choice in real life.

#5 Create mental markers.

Whatever lesson you teach with a movie clip will live on beyond your classroom. If your students ever see that clip again, your lesson will pop back into their minds, reinforcing your point. Sprinkling in movie clips helps move your training outside the classroom and into employees’ everyday lives.



Two things to consider before unleashing these teachable cinematic moments on your unsuspecting team.

#1 Provide some context.

Whether you send these clips out via email, show them on a tablet to an individual or screen them in a meeting, you’ll want to provide some context. Dropping a movie clip in someone’s lap without any explanation will at best surprise them and at worst leave them utterly confused… and completely missing your point.

Context is easy to establish. Simply alert people that they’ll be watching a clip that illustrates your topic. Declaring the topic up front won’t spoil anything. Providing this little mental hook will ensure that minds focus in the right direction and don’t chase a rabbit down the wrong hole or get stuck trying to guess what you’re communicating.

If you send the clip via email (as in, you won’t be there in person to provide context), you’ll need to make the company policy outlining proper behavior crystal clear. (You don’t want anyone thinking they should be having a lunchroom conversation about whether men and women can be friends or not.)

#2 Allow them to share some stories.

When showing clips in a group setting, maximize the memorability by allowing participants to share true stories on the topic from either their own lives, incidents they’ve witnessed, or something that has happened to a friend.

These real world compliance stories will drive home your point with the longest lasting force by increasing your touch points with employees and hopefully helping them begin to see the world through a lens of ethics & compliance.

For more on teaching your team with Hollywood movie clips, download our free ebook using the link on the right side of our navigation bar and following the instructions.

We also post new scenes every Movie Clip Monday. Sign up here to have them sent directly to your inbox.


Bryan Belknap, an award-winning screenwriter, is Creative Director at Resonate Pictures, which specializes in story-based training and branding films. He will be speaking at SCCE Compliance & Ethics Conference in Las Vegas.


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