Since that long-ago day when Thomas Edison showed his first piece of film, movies have touched our hearts, made us laugh or even horrified us. But the best ones inspire us to do better.

Each February, Hollywood celebrates its greatest films at the Academy Awards. And like previous years, you can learn a lot from 2016’s Oscar-nominated films and be motivated to be your best, especially if you are a small-business owner.  Here are a few lessons from several of this year’s nominees.

  1. Arrival

The Story: Dr. Louise Brooks, a linguist, is called into action by the military when mysterious spacecraft begin to appear. In order to save the world, she must learn to communicate with the strange creatures.

Lesson Learned: Communication is one of the most powerful weapons in your business arsenal. When you don’t share with your team, both good news and bad, you create an atmosphere of fear, anger and distrust of fellow employees and leadership. As a bonus, great communication can also keep you from dying a torturous death from the creepy gray tentacles of a freaky alien. 

Favorite Quote: “Language is the foundation of civilization. It is the glue that holds a people together. It is the first weapon drawn in a conflict.”

  1. Hacksaw Ridge

The Story: The true story of World War II Army medic Desmond Doss, a conscientious objector who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his extraordinary courage at the Battle of Okinawa.

Lesson Learned: Private Doss didn’t believe in violence and refused to bear arms. But despite the hardship it brought, including being harassed and beaten by fellow soldiers and a court martial, he stood firm. To be a success in business, do the same. Identify your core values, state them clearly, and stick to them. Processes may change but principles don’t.

Favorite Quote: “I don’t know how I’m going to live with myself if I don’t stay true to what I believe.”

  1. Hell or High Water

The Story: An old-fashioned Western set in modern times, Hell or High Water tells the tale of two brothers who go on a bank-robbing spree to save the family ranch from foreclosure.

Lesson Learned: Debt can sink your business (or ranch) faster than box office receipts for the new Ghostbusters. It magnifies mistakes and is not needed to run your company. Grow slowly, continuously watch the bottom line, rent instead of buy, and build your retained earnings. You will succeed.

Favorite Quote: “You know they can foreclose on Friday, so come hell or high water, get the money to the bank on Thursday and then you are free and clear.”

  1. Hidden Figures

The Story: The untold story of three brilliant African-American women who helped shape our space program and launch astronaut John Glenn into space.

Lesson Learned: Although the central character in Hidden Figures is physicist Katherine Johnson, mathematician Dorothy Vaughan stole our hearts. She shows leadership in its finest form—despite not having the title to back her up. When Dorothy learns her team’s jobs are in danger of being phased out, she does everything in her power to save them, even though it may mean losing her own position. When you show you care about your team, they, in turn, will do the same.

Favorite Quote: “We all get to the peak together or we don’t get there at all.”

  1. La La Land

The Story: Not into musicals? You might be after this one. La La Land tells the story of an aspiring actress, Mia, and jazz pianist, Sebastian, as they follow their dreams and passions in a city full of heartbreaks.

Lesson Learned: When you do what you love and care deeply about your business, it shows. And people, including team members and customers, are attracted to it. So follow your passion. And when all else fails, dance.

Favorite Quote: “People will want to go to the club because you’re passionate about it and people love what people are passionate about.”

Running a business is never easy, even in the best of times. But by following the above lessons from the silver screen, you can be well on your way to happily ever after. 

It’s impossible to work on your business without a great team beside you to take care of all the day-to-day tasks. Learn how to create a culture where everyone is productive and fired up to win. In our  next FREE webinar—The Five Fixes to Get Your Employees to Act Like Owners—we’ll walk you through the steps to get there. Space is limited, so register now