The Ride of a Lifetime

Lessons to Lead By – Robert Iger

To tell great stories, you need great talent Now more than ever: innovate or die. There can be no innovation if you operate out of fear of the new I talk a lot about “the relenless pursuit of perfection.” In practice, this can mean a lot of things, and it’s hard to define. I’ts a mindset, more than a specific set of rules. it’s not about perfectionism, at all costs. It’s about creating an environment in which people refuse to accept mediocrity. It’s about pushing back against the urge to say that “good enough” is good enough Take responsibility when you screw up. In work, in life, you’ll be more respected and trusted by the people around you if you own up to your mistakes. It’s impossible to avoid them; but it is possible to acknowledge them, learn from them, and set an example that it’s okay to get things wrong sometimes be decent to people. treat everyone with fairness and empathy. This doesn’t mean that you lower your expectations or convey the message that mistakes don’t matter. It means that you create an environment where people know you’ll hear them out, that you’re emotionally consistent and fair-minded, and that they’ll be given second chances for honest mistakes Excellence and fairness don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Strive for perfection but always be aware of the pitfalls of caring only about the product and never the people True integrity – a sense of knowing who you are and being guided by your own clear sense of right and wrong – is a kind of secret leadership weapon. If you trust your own instincts and treat people with respect, the company will come to represent the values you live by value ability more than experience, and put people in roles that require more of them than they know they have in them ask the questions you need to ask, admit without apology what you don’t understand, and do the work to learn what you need to learn as quickly as you can Managing creativity is an art, not a science. When giving notes, be mindful of how much of themselves the person you’re speaking to has poured into the project and how much is at stake for them Don’t start negatively, and don’t start small. People will often focus on little details as a way of masking a lack of any clear, coherent, big thoughts. If you start petty – you seem petty if you want innovation, you need to grant permission to fail don’t be in the business of playing it safe. Be in the business of creating possibilities for greatness Don’t let ambition get ahead of opportunity. By fixating on a future job or project, you become impatient with where you are. You don’t tend enough to the responsibilities you do have, and so ambition can become counterproductive. It’s important to know how to find the balance – do the job you have well; be patient; look for opportunities to pitch in and expand and grow; and make yourself one of the people, through attitude and energy and focus, whom your bosses feel they have to turn to when opportunity arises Don’t invest in small projects that would sap your and the company’s resources and not give much back When people at the top of a company have a dysfunctional relationship, there’s no way that the rest of the company can be functional as a leader, if you don’t do the work, the people around you are going to know, and you’ll lose their respect fast. you have to be attentive. You often have to sit through meetings that, if given the choice, you might choose not to sit through. You have to listen to other people’s problems and help fund solutions. It’s all part of the job

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