“Be true to yourself and what you represent, before you can be true to anyone else.”
This is the advice Robert (Bob) Iger received from his father, which became the most important advice of his life.
Advice that Robert has applied in his journey to the top of the creative world as Disney's creative titan and CEO, setting the tone of success with the creation of a strategy that will serve Disney for years to come.
In today’s blog, we’re looking at the leadership skills of Disney’s former CEO Robert A. Iger.
When it comes to leadership and success, people often see the product in its finished form.
In fact, a good number of people don't understand what it truly means to be a leader, or the qualities and processing it takes to run a successful business, let alone a multi-billion-dollar corporation like Disney. We often get lost in the process, and try to play it safe, doing what has already been done, taking the road most traveled instead of feeding our creativity. Yet, Bob Iger is not one of those people.
Bob comes from humble beginnings, getting his start in entertainment as a studio supervisor for ABC making 150 dollars a week. Don't be too impressed, a studio supervisor isn't as impressive as it sounds, it's lower than a production assistant. In fact, a studio supervisor is the assistant of the production assistant. A far cry from the industry leader and titanic CEO that he is today.
Now what is impressive, is the fact that in a 48-year career Bob Iger went from the lowest possible position in television, to the CEO of the second largest entertainment company in the world.
What's even more impressive is Bob's process and approach to creativity in both business and his personal life.
Here are some of Bob Iger’s keys to being a successful leader:
USING YOUR TIME EFFECTIVELY
One of the most commonly used phrases is that timing is everything, it's important to give yourself time to complete all your tasks in a day. It's also important to give yourself quiet time to think without interruption. Solitude is key to creativity, by unplugging yourself and having quiet time away from technology such as emails, your cellphone, television, the internet and even other people. By adding this quiet time it's possible to think about work, gain clarity and be more focused, adding much needed structure and perspective to your plans for your day. It may not be the most relaxing quiet time because you're still thinking about work, but having the ability to only think about work and what needs to be done is an important part of adding structure to your day.
ARRIVE AT WORK EARLY
Arriving to work early gives you more time to prepare, organize, and set your agenda. Early arrival also allows you to ease into your day. This gives you the chance to not be bombarded with items on your to do list as soon as you arrive. Being the first person in the office also adds much needed solitude to your day, "the early bird gets the worm" may sound cliche, but by putting in more time you are often more prepared, and in most cases, you will have a more productive day and be prepared for the tasks at hand. By arriving to work early, managing your time properly and focusing on the tasks you need to do it's often possible to leave early and give your mind a rest by focusing on things you enjoy, instead of being stuck at the office late every day.
WRITE DOWN YOUR GOALS
Having a clear understanding of what you wish to carry out in your company is vital to its success. Not only does writing things down bring your goals to life, but it also gives you something to look at and check back on. Having a clear understanding of your goals and tasks can make it easier to rank what needs to be accomplished by order of importance, also adding structure to your day and improving time management. Then, when you're done working, you can check back with your written list and see if you accomplished what needed to be accomplished on any given day.
FOCUS ON STRATEGY
In 2005 when Disney Decided it needed a new CEO, it became clear that Bob Iger was the only person internally that was qualified for the position, Bob then developed a strategy that would not only dictate the future of Disney and lay out future goals, but to allocate capital as well. The strategy that was presented to the board was three-fold.
Step one involved investing heavily in the high-quality branded content of the company. Step two centered around utilizing technology to innovate content, improve storytelling and ultimately create a better product.
Step three was all about growing globally and deepening Disney’s already broad connections in the markets around the world. By developing this three-part strategy,
Bob was able to get the job as CEO, making the next step articulating the developed strategy to the company, and implementing the strategy that was developed. This brings us to the next point.
"Strategy is only as good as your ability to articulate it"
According to Bob Iger, one of the most important parts of implementing strategy and business growth is clear communication from the top down. In leadership, clarity is key, by letting people know what is expected of them it fosters a culture of success and growth. Bob Iger accomplished this by developing an internal communication plan that was designed similar to that of a politician on a campaign trail, Bob developed his strategy and then took it around the world from Florida to California to New York, from ABC news and sales to ESPN to London and South America. using this method, Bob was able to explain why Disney was adopting these strategies, how the different arms of the corporation should adopt these strategies and lastly, Bob was able to add value by stating the probable outcomes by using the strategy that had been developed as the future of the company and getting his employees all around the world to buy into that strategy.
THE ART OF NEGOTIATION.
"A negotiation is ultimately two-way in its benefits."
Negotiation is a big part of any business, when it comes to Bob Iger, Bob believes that negotiations should be expedient in nature and you should get the deal done quickly. According to Bob, the best way to do this is to be candid and direct, cut out the fluff and gain an essence of what it is you're trying to accomplish.
A deal should also be two-way in benefits, both parties should win and you should never walk into a negotiation attempting to base a deal with a winner take all mentality, by doing this you are likely to make the negotiation more difficult and lengthier. because let's face it, who wants to walk out of a negotiation feeling like they were the loser
Lastly, fully understand what the person at the other side of the table desires. By doing this you have the ability to offer them something they want in the negotiation, expediting the process. Plus, by doing this it may seem like you are conceding something, making everyone feel like a winner who got what they desired out of the deal.
Bob Iger is a risk taker, a user of strategy and a creative all in one. Bob has added value to Disney that cannot be measured in dollars but should be measured in leadership, he will be seen for generations to come as the man who bought Pixar, Lucas films, Marvel and 21st Century fox. Cementing his place in history as a titan of entertainment and a business heavyweight by bringing back the creative spark and animation innovation that Disney almost lost. by using a simple three-part strategy and implementing it across the board Bob has proved that while not all creatives are good leaders, all good leaders are creative.
One thing you can be certain of is that Disney is in good hands under the leadership of Bob Iger. Disney has managed to flourish and remain the 2nd largest entertainment company in the world, even during a global pandemic where its flagship attractions were closed for a year. In truth, Bob Iger truly inspires creation with innovation in the most impressive ways, it's often the most successful people who can simplify the difficult and make it look easy.
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