There’s Nothing Mickey Mouse About Leadership

Robert Iger’s book, “The Ride of A Lifetime” is easily one of the best books I’ve read in a long time.

 I decided to read this book because I have always enjoyed how the Disney Company has built its empire. It knows how to create an amazing experience for its customers. Iger took over the Company at a critical time when it seemed like Disney has lost its original luster.

 But the book is more than that.

More importantly, it is full of great advice for managers and leaders.

He opens the book with a list of the ten principles who believes that will serve you well as a leader:

  • Optimism
  • Courage
  • Focus
  • Decisiveness
  • Curiosity
  • Fairness
  • Thoughtfulness
  • Authenticity
  • The Relentless Pursuit of Perfection
  • Integrity

Then throughout the book, he illustrates those principles as he rebuilds the Company, working with Steve Jobs and adding new assets to the Company.

As you think about the work that you do, it might be helpful to reflect on this quote from Iger:

“…a delicate balance is required between management being responsible for the financial performance of any creative work and, in exercising that responsibility, being careful not to encroach on the creative processes in harmful and counterproductive ways. Empathy is a prerequisite to the sound management of creativity, and respect is critical.’

Managing in a creative environment like Disney will still pleasing a board of directors, and shareholders must not be easy. Iger shows how it’s done.

Iger also discusses how initially he had a long list of things he wanted to accomplish as CEO. What he found out was that he needed to come up with three priorities. “A company’s culture is shaped by a lot of things, but this is one of the most important – you have to convey your priorities clearly and repeatedly. In my experience, it’s what separates great managers from the rest. If leaders don’t articulate their priorities clearly, then the people around them don’t know what their own priorities should be.”

Have you articulated your priorities lately?


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