Once Upon a Time in Disney Leadership (prologue)

Magic Kingdom flag-lowering ceremony
September 11, 2016 Magic Kingdom flag-lowering ceremony.

Once Upon a Time in Disney Leadership (prologue)

The traditional American industry leadership structure changed in the early 1990’s at Walt Disney World when Judson Green shared a clear, concise, and compelling vision of the future to 6,000 salaried Walt Disney World Leaders.

i remember it like it was yesterday.

Disney’s Contemporary Resort, second floor, Ballroom of the Americas.

Four sessions.

Back to back days of morning and afternoon sessions to roughly 1,500 leaders each.

Judson’s message was clear, no more bossing people around.

Instead, he wanted every leader to lead with, “What do you think?”

Judson took the proverbial hierarchical pyramid, with the chief at the top and the front line workers on the bottom, and turned it upside down.

Quite simply, the best leaders of the future would be the ones involving their teams in decisions rather than giving orders to do it “my way or the highway.”

This restructuring was the single greatest, and most challenging, organizational change i witnessed between 1982 and 2014.

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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.