Disney’s Approach to Leadership Excellence

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I love Disney.

My wife and I went on our honeymoon, and we’ve been regularly going back ever since. But beyond the turkey legs and Dole whips, I’m amazed at the Walt Disney Company. So when I had the chance to attend Disney’s Approach to Leadership Excellence by the Disney Institute, I jumped on the opportunity.

While the course wasn’t at a Disney property (it was hosted by the DeGroote School of Business in Hamilton, Ontario), it was presented by Disney employees who taught how Disney approaches leadership.

Values, Vision and Legacy

14272196_1073683796042855_1165880204_n1The course was primarily about values and vision. Values are lasting beliefs which remain consistent and describe who we are. Rachel has previously written about FMTC’s values:

  • Be indispensable
  • Care
  • Focus
  • Embrace elegant innovation

While FMTC as an organization has values, each team can extend those values. And each employee has their own values, which we hope are aligned with FMTC’s values. The Disney Institute teaches that hiring should focus on values and whether or not the candidate fits the culture, not if he/she simply has the necessary skills.

Vision, on the other hand, can and must change and is an ambitious view of the future. Delivering the vision is not done by a group email; a leader’s vision needs to be worded in a way that’s engaging and inspiring. They tell why this vision is important to them and sell the story. Walt Disney was a fantastic storyteller, which aided him in selling his vision to his employees (see Leadership Lessons From Walt Disney: The Power Of Storytelling).

Finally, leaders (and everyone can be a leader; leadership is what you do, not what your title says) intentionally write their legacy. It’s something we’re all writing now, but read later.

Leadership Excellence at FMTC

It’s great going to training and learning something new, or reinforcing what you already knew, but without action afterward the training is wasted. I’m happy to say that this training has already sparked some discussions at FMTC, and we’re working to redefine (not change) and reinforce our values, act according to these values and ensure our product roadmap aligns with our vision which is shared by all employees.

Disney Institute

The Disney Institute has three other courses (Business Excellence, Quality Service, and Employee Engagement) and regularly posts to Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

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