8 principles learned in "The Ride of a Lifetime" by Robert Iger.
"Simply put, people are not motivated or energized by pessimists."
"It’s about believing in your and others’ abilities."
In a career spanning 45 years, Robert had to overcome several obstacles.
He had many reasons to become pessimistic, but he does not believe that brings any good.
"I didn’t want to be in the business of playing it safe. I wanted to be in the business of creating possibilities for greatness."
When the stakes are high, when no amount of analysis can give absolute certainty – like in several of the significant acquisitions Robert went through – at one point a courageous decision must be made.
And it’s also true for opportunities in our daily life. We won’t have absolute certainty, yet we need to have the courage to jump if we want to grow.
It’s at the center of any personal or collective success.
It’s much easier when you have to deal only with yourself.
"To this day, I wake nearly every morning at four-fifteen, though now I do it for selfish reasons: to have time to think and read and exercise before the demands of the day take over."
And more complicated when you have to lead an organization of more than 220,000 people to focus on the right priorities. The author describes this with simplicity.
"A lot of work is complex and requires intense amounts of focus and energy, but this kind of messaging is fairly simple: This is where we want to be. This is how we’re going to get there."
"Chronic indecision is not only inefficient and counterproductive, but it is deeply corrosive to morale."
"Treating others with respect is an undervalued currency when it comes to negotiating. A little respect goes a long way, and the absence of it can be very costly"
"You have to 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"
Think about it, do you often hear it in a meeting room? I don’t know.
One of the golden rules for growth is to get out of our comfort zone. When you are there, it’s normal not to know everything. If it’s not the case, you’re playing it too safe. And even when you win, it leaves a bitter taste.
7. The Relentless Pursuit of Perfection
This was one of the three key priorities Robert had in terms of how he ran Disney.
Recommitting to the idea that quality matters, embracing technology, and turning Disney into a stronger brand in the international markets.
There is assuredly no perfection, but chasing it increases the standard. And he was really aware of its danger.
"It’s not, at least as I have internalized it, about perfectionism at all costs."
He learned this mantra from Roone Arledge, one of his mentors: “Do what you need to do to make it better”.
He sees it as a mindset, really, more than a specific set of rules.
"You instinctively push back against the urge to say There’s not enough time, or I don’t have the energy, or This requires a difficult conversation I don’t want to have, or any of the many other ways we can convince ourselves that “good enough” is good enough."
Maybe the Japanese word “shokunin” encompasses this idea the best, “the endless pursuit of perfection for some greater good”.
“Another way of saying this is: The way you do anything is the way you do everything”.
The way you act with a restaurant waiter shows more than what you say during a corporate speech.
"I speak to everyone in the same way, whether he is the garbage man or the president of the university." Einstein.
In the corporate world, but not only, it’s rare to see people driven by their own sense of right and wrong. When hard decisions need to be made, you are more likely to see people following a group than speaking their minds.
Developing your ability to speak your own mind is a superpower that is often rewarded in the long term.
In fact, 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 weapon.