Become the Leadership Excellence Category

Walt Disney World Steam Train
Hometown traffic.

Become the Leadership Excellence Category

Lead the category or be the category?

Striving to lead your industry isn’t entirely bad if you’re ok with waiting for someone else to beat you to the next breakthrough.

Why does that sound ridiculous?

Why is it important?

Because some ridiculously important (some would say game-changing) events have happened, are happening now, and will continue to happen.

It’s called disruption for a reason.

Waiting for it to happen can destroy an organization (and sometimes an industry).

Making it happen can launch competitive immunity and have your competition scrambling to recover.

Remember how the music industry let Napster reinvent music file sharing?

Music executives got blind-sided.

As if that wasn’t enough, the music industry never saw a computer company coming either.

Apple, iPod, iTunes, and now, Apple Music.

Apple is a category of one.

The music industry had their chance to become the category.

Kodak had their chance too, but they held so tightly to film, they suffocated themselves.

How does this train of thought affect Disney?

For decades we had a top-down approach to Disney Leadership. Classic command and control, do-what-you’re told, follow orders, don’t question authority.

Enter the 1990’s.

What is remarkable about this topic is the Walt Disney Company didn’t change. Not as a whole. Rather, it was a single business unit, Walt Disney World, that took a game-changing leadership risk.

Judson Green, a visionary leader at Walt Disney World, saw the future of Disney Leadership differently and led the change.

Judson became a leadership category of one because he took action contrary to the way Disney ran its businesses since 1923.

Judson saw a future where employees would literally be in charge of continuous improvement and managers would become facilitators, teachers, and coaches.

One-third of our leaders rejoiced, one-third took a wait and see attitude, and one-third said it would never work. The distribution percentage was roughly 20-60-20.

Personally, i thought it was pure genius.

i also thought it was long overdue.

•  •  •  •  •

This website is about our MIND. To read today’s post about our BODY, click here.

By jeff noel

Retired Disney Institute Keynote Speaker and Prolific Blogger. Five daily, differently-themed personal blogs (about life's 5 big choices) on five interconnected sites.