At our latest agency book club, we discussed “The Ride of A Lifetime—Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of The Walt Disney Company” by Robert Iger. The book offers lessons to be learned about becoming a better leader in today’s day and age and what it takes to run an empire. If time for reading is on your side, consider picking up a copy here. If not, here are five key takeaways from our team.
1. To tell great stories, you need great talent
Excellence and fairness are not mutually exclusive. Iger challenges the reader to build a working environment where your peers know you’ll hear them out, you are level-headed and fair-minded, and that you give second chances when mistakes happen.
2. Take responsibility when you screw up.
Owning up to your mistakes is not only the right and honest thing to do, but it also allows you to build trust and respect within your team. Honest mistakes are impossible to avoid, but you can grow by learning from them and acknowledging that they happened. It is especially critical for leaders to set an example for the rest of the organization.
3. Ask 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.
Be smart enough to know what you don’t know. The quickest way to move forward is to set your pride aside and admit when you have a question. Any hesitation to show that you don’t know everything will just slow your whole team down in the long run. There is no shame in wanting to know more.
4. You can do a lot for morale of the people around you by taking the guesswork out of their day-to-day life. This is where we want to be. This is how we’re going to get there.
There is no such thing as being over prepared. Having clear, well-defined steps in your projects can help orient your team and put them on an efficient path to success. When you are getting lost in the minutia of a project, taking a step back to make your goals explicit can clear a lot of mental space for your team to focus on the project.
5. If you’re in the business of making something, be in the business of making something great.
Don’t get comfortable with mediocrity. Put your heart and soul into every project you work on. When you think something is good, pause to think what you could do to make it great.