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Talent & Passion Revives Disney4 min read

I have an interesting story that most likely remember. Back in the late ’90s, Disney was killing it with a run of successful movies, however, all of a sudden, they went into a decade-long slump where the majority of movies they delivered weren’t that good. They were struggling, attempting to figure it out, and Bob Iger decided to acquire Pixar. Everybody remembers the acquisition of Pixar, however, there’s a story behind this acquisition that you necessarily may not know.

What happened was when they made this acquisition of Pixar, there were a lot of challenges. Pixar was a much smaller company, and Disney was gargantuan. There was a difference in location of 350 miles, and when Pixar came in, Bob Iger gave total control to the owners of Pixar to run the show at Disney. Fortune Magazine said it’s like the whale swallowing Nemo. It’s not going to work, to many inconsistencies here. You have the tail wagging the dog.

However, what happened when the new executives came in from Pixar, they sat with the team, the directors, and the talent, and they told them, “Disney will not be a clone of Pixar. We’re going to focus on your talent and your passion.” Immediately what they did is they flipped the script. What was happening and why Disney was struggling was because the executives were delivering their ideas to the producers and directors, they were supposed to follow those instructions and were struggling. You essentially had the non-creative executives managing the creators and it was not working. So, the executives of Pixar pretty much said, “Boom, you guys are out of the equation. We’re going to let the directors take care of the creativity and what we’re going to produce.”

What they also did was they created a little mastermind caffeine patch gathering, as they called it. It’s amazing how we always mastermind around coffee. But what this did was it created a place of collaboration and masterminding. All these directors and talented passionate people started speaking about what they wanted to create. What happened essentially by these little shifts, flipping the script, changing the belief in the team, shifting the ownership, giving them the ability to create what they wanted to create, supporting them, and aligning the team with the mission, Pixar essentially turned around Disney which produced a run of really good movies, became extremely profitable, and Disney was back in the forefront of delivering fantastic movies. We all remember that Pixar changed the way these types of movies were done.

However, here’s something you want to understand. There was no employee turnover. Disney was struggling producing results. The executives of Pixar came in, looked at the team and said, “We’re going to focus on your talent and passion.” With a few shifts in alignment, belief, support, and ownership, they turned Disney around, and produced amazing results with the same people, the same team who were previously struggling. Now, there’s something to think about.

Sometimes it’s not necessarily the team. If they’re being given instructions and they don’t feel empowered, they just might not be able to deliver the goods. However, as you empower them, provide them ownership, align them with the mission, and provide them a space to collaborate and mastermind over a cup of coffee about the possibilities of what they want to create to get those juices flowing, you just might be able to take your company to a whole new level of excellence.

COACH MICHAEL DILL is an Award-Winning Certified Business Coach, global speaker, and published author. He is a proud Action Coach Franchise partner as well as the President of Power & Ice Wealth Creation a strategic leadership company that works with business owners, leaders, teams, and entrepreneurs to both develop a systematized and structured organization while accelerating their mindset, efficiencies, and effectiveness to grow both personally and professionally to achieve extraordinary results. He brings more than 40 years of business and entrepreneurial experience in his leadership, team training, and mentoring practice. Businesscoachmichaeldill.com