Having completed my book The Business of Walt Disney and the Nine Principles of His Success and building a website, I’ve been able to spend time this spring and summer between work assignments catching up on some reading in areas of professional and personal interest. Read more
Looking back at the long and varied career of Walt Disney, it seems that almost everything he touched – from Oswald the Lucky Rabbit and Mickey Mouse to Disneyland and Florida’s Walt Disney World – resulted in success.
Walt Disney surely had the golden touch.
The truth isn’t quite as kind. Walt wasn’t always right and his ideas weren’t always successful.
But Walt Disney was curious and honest, and therefore also committed to recognizing and assessing his own failures and learning from his mistakes. “All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles have strengthened me,” he said. Read more
One of the attributes that made Walt Disney unique amongst movie studio heads in Hollywood was that he was both a businessman and an artist. Walt worked everyday with the sensitivity of an artist and the hardheadedness of an entrepreneurial business owner, leading and directing his artistic and technical staff to create high-quality entertainment that would bring joy and happiness to ordinary people.
Long-time Disney animator and director Wilfred Jackson (1906-1988) provides insight into how Walt worked on his earliest feature-length films in a series of retrospective correspondence letters with author and musician Ross Care from the mid-1970s through the early-1980s that are newly published in the book Disney Legend Wilfred Jackson: A Life in Animation (Theme Park Press, 2016). Read more
I just learned about something called The Amazon Doctrine, which explains why I love amazon so much.
The company’s leaders and guiding minds are committed to treating customers right. They invest, learn, and continually adapt to win and keep customers. They help me acquire knowledge, entertainment, and other solutions-oriented products to make me a more productive and happier person. They are what they proclaim to be: the everything store. And they never seem to stop working to make my life better so that I will continue to buy from them. Read more
It has long been recognized that businesses survive when they create and deliver solutions at a profit that customers desire and will pay for by means of voluntary exchange. Business success is ultimately in the hands of consumers. In this sense, the customer is king. The choices made by customers decide which businesses will succeed and which will fail, and so much more in terms of the efficient allocation of resources in a free-market society.
Peter Drucker famously identified this notion as a broader business philosophy he referred to as The Marketing Concept.
Then along came the TQM gurus. Read more
Didier Ghez, one of the foremost Disney researchers and prolific author of dozens of important books on Walt Disney Studio-related history, is first out of the blocks with a review of my recent book dealing with the business aspects of Walt Disney’s career. The review appeared today at Ghez’s Disney History blog,
The Disney History blog is a great resource for discovering the latest book releases and other miscellaneous items of interest to Disney history buffs. And Ghez’s Walt’s People series of books containing interview transcripts of people who worked with Walt and for the studio is an excellent and highly valuable resource for those with an infatuation for a behind the scenes look at the people and stories that populated Walt’s world. I love reading these interviews and hearing from the artists themselves as they reflect on their own careers and major studio events.
Here’s Didier Ghez’s review in its entirety, published on 20 June 2017. Read more
In doing research for a 1955 article for Woman’s Day magazine to correspond with the opening of Disneyland, writer Don Eddy spent time with Walt at the Disney studio and the park. He summed up Walt’s “special secret” to making dreams come true with “four C’s. They are Curiosity, Confidence, Courage, and Constancy.” Eddy wrote:
“From his insatiable curiosity, as persistent and all-embracing as a child’s, he gets his ideas. When he settles on one idea, his confidence take supreme command; nothing can shake it. His courage keeps it alive and active against all obstacles, and he has plenty of obstacles. And he is constant to it until it becomes reality. Then he drops it abruptly and rarely mentions it again.” Read more
I am a huge fan of the value and effectiveness of the research and writings of management science pioneer Elliott Jaques.
Jaques conducted organizational research for 50 years, culminating in an management system he called Requisite Organization. One of the most impactful management books in my education and practice is a book written by Jaques and Stephen Clement, Executive Leadership. Following closely behind two other late career books by Jaques, Requisite Organization and Social Power and the CEO. Read more
In my last blog post I provided my comments on Bower and Paine’s observations in the May-June 2017 issue of HBR regarding two popular perspectives on the purpose of a business: shareholder-centric and company-centric.
In the same issue there is an interview with former Allergan CEO David Pyott.
I like David Pyott’s perspective with regards to the responsibility of executives qua managerial leaders, so I thought I’d share it. Read more
A lot of companies think that they need to make themselves more friendly, not just to stockholders but to employees and to society. Having a broader purpose – something beyond simply making money – is how you do that and how you create strong corporate cultures.
I don’t believe that strong performance and purpose are at odds, not at all. My own experience tells me that in order for a company to be a really high performer, it needs to have a purpose. Money matters to employees up to a point, but they want to believe they’re working on something that improves people’s lives. I’ve also found that employees respond really favorably when management commits to responsible social behavior.
Quoted in HBR May-June 2017, “The CEO View: Defending a Good Company from Bad Investors. A conversation with former Allergan CEO David Pyott.”