The following content is mainly from the book ‘The Ride Of A Lifetime’ by Robert Iger.
Robert joined American Broadcasting Corporation, in 1974, as a Studio Supervisor- the lowest level of the career ladder inside the company. The job was menial labor. He was a helper for all the TV shows. Robert had to show up whenever the production team needed him and do whatever task they asked him to do. He had to spend hours on the floor and had to endure strenuous physical work.
Robert ran errands, encountered abuses, disrespect, discrimination, and other things as he was on the lowest level of food chain inside the organization. Yet, by 1989, he became head of ABC entertainment at the age of thirty-eight. For the first time in the history of the company that the person running ABC Entertainment wasn’t from the entertainment world. Till that time, Bob had primarily worked only in sports — He did not know about the entertainment part of the business — He never read a script — Suddenly, he found himself in charge of running daytime, late-night and Saturday morning shows and as well as managing the business affairs for the entire network.
Robert continued to grow in his career. In 1994, he was named president and chief operating officer of ABC’s corporate parent, Capital Cities. In1996, The Walt Disney Company purchased Capital Cities/ABC Television Network. On March 13, 2005, Disney named Robert Iger as the company’s CEO.
What a phenomenal growth?
What leadership and business lessons could we learn from Robert Iger’s career?
01 — READ, IF YOU WANT TO LEAD
Curiosity, the desire to know or learn information, is a critical leadership trait. It leads to questioning the status quo that is a hallmark of transformation leadership.
Leaders with curious minds observe, categorize, and store a vast amounts of information. They would be in a better position than anyone to generate innovative solutions/ideas.
Curiosity also builds passion.
However, we cannot summon curiosity whenever we want it. It needs to be an integral part of our everyday behavior, ingrained into our daily lifestyle.
As kids, we were naturally curious. Unfortunately, most of us have failed to grow that trait.
Reading Habit — One of the ways to grow curiosity is to read books.
From his very young age, Robert Iger’s father would read books to him every day. His father had a den filled with shelves, full of books. He brought books on diverse subjects. He not only read with Robert but also encouraged him to try reading books. Every day, his father would discuss books and its content over dinners with him.
John Coleman writes in HBR, “Deep, broad reading habits are often a defining characteristic of our greatest business leaders and can catalyze insight, innovation, empathy, and personal effectiveness. It cultivated in them the knowledge, habits, and talents to improve their organizations. Many business people claim that reading across fields is good for creativity. And leaders who can sample insights in other fields, such as sociology, the physical sciences, economics, or psychology, and apply them to their organizations are more likely to innovate and prosper.”
Somehow, Robert’s father had helped his son to develop the reading habit. It shaped his life by making him curious about things in life.
02 — REPAIR/FIX THINGS & PROBLEM-SOLVING SKILL
Whenever something broke, Robert’s father tried to find a way to fix/repair it. He hated throwing them away. He also encouraged Robert to take responsibility for repairing things inside the home. Robert also did the same. Slowly, it became a habit.
Robert gained several things from this habit —
- Foremost, it nurtured the problem-solving mindset.
- It nourished a positive mindset — If you are into a habit of repairing things, what would be your first response when you encounter a problem in a household product? — Won’t you say, “Oh, ok, No problem! We can solve it?” Won’t you be calmness personified?. A calm mind helps in understanding the problem better. Not many people could get calmer when things go wrong. If you had developed the habit, then it means that this mindset had got ingrained in your subconscious mind. Naturally, you would behave in a similar way when you encounter problems in the workplace or any other circumstances.
- It developed a hands-on approach to solving the problem. Robert and his father did fix most of the repairs on their own without utilizing the services of professionals. It taught Robert the value of a hands-on approach to solving the problem. As a leader, Robert loved involving himself wholeheartedly on projects along with his team. Mostly, he adopted a hands-on approach method with his team.
- It grew the curiosity — When you encounter a problem in a household product, you would naturally have to take things apart, learn, and assemble it again. It necessitates that you need to understand how things work and how everything fits. The more you learn, the more curious you become.
- It developed craving — Craving means a powerful desire to do it again. When we successfully repair a product, we would naturally feel that we had accomplished something worthy. We would love that feeling. As we keep experiencing it, again and again, we would develop a craving for that. The desire would force us to look for opportunities/challenges to solve. It is the reason why leaders have persistent energy and motivation in solving the problems.
- It taught resilience and perseverance. Throwing a defective product is easy, but repairing or fixing it demands persistent effort. Similarly, abandoning a problem is easy. Yet, solving needs resilience and perseverance. Robert experienced them through these activities.
03 — LOVE WHAT YOU DO
Due to financial problems, Robert Iger had to start doing part-time jobs from his eighth grade. He did several tasks — Babysitting, shoveling snow, cleaning the school, and other things.
In his school cleaning job, he had to clean the chewing gum from the bottom of the thousands of the desk. It was disgusting, monotonous work. Yet, Robert worked diligently.
Robert writes that cleaning gum from the bottoms of a thousand desks built his character. He evolved an open mind for monotonous work. In other words, he learned to love whatever job he did.
One of the golden pieces of advice we have received in recent times is Do What You Love. Imagine that you’ve got the job/work that you love to do — Yet, you have to understand that every job will have a few tedious, monotonous tasks. Unfortunately, those tasks would also be critical to successful and meaningful output. It means that unless you perform those dull tasks with love, you might end up hating your job soon.
Just tolerating those boring tasks would not help in any way. You have to love doing it. Love what you do.
People who love what they do will always be successful in any field. Through part-time jobs, Robert had mastered that art. He had developed a belief that he could do any job well.
04 — CHASING THE WRONG GOAL
From his childhood, Robert Iger had one career goal — To become a news anchorman on a television network. He worked hard and became a weather reporter on a news channel-A dream fulfilled. He was happy.
Unfortunately, the happiness was shortlived. After a few days, Robert realized that he no longer enjoyed his job. He found it not challenging enough to sustain his interest.
He sensed that he was not suited for that work. However, it was also his dream career. His mind wavered between holding the job or abandoning it. How could we abandon a dream we longed from our childhood?
However, Robert chose to quit the job and change his career path.
Wrong Goals — One of the critical problems with goal setting is that we may unknowingly set the wrong goals. Only after achieving it, we would realize our folly. By that time, we would have lost valuable time and energy.
So, what could we do in that case?
Don’t Be Obsessive — To save time and efforts from chasing the wrong goal, we should avoid being obsessive about our goals. Don’t let the goal control you.
If you are obsessive about goals, then cognitive bias sets in your mind, blocking all the information that is not related to your goal. Probably, you’d miss information that would have the potential to direct you to the right future.
Have An Open Mind — The solution is to have an open mind — Be receptive to a wide variety of ideas, information, and arguments that conflict with your goals and beliefs.
Be open to questioning your goals — Unexamined goals could prevent us from achieving the success we deserve. It’s an essential part of learning and personal growth.
Learn To Move On — When you realize that your goal had taken to a wrong end, don’t feel discouraged. Robert Iger showed that it’s not the end of the world. He adjusted himself and turned his career direction. He was humble enough to admit his mistake. Later, Robert grew to become the CEO of the Walt Disney company. Imagine what would have happened if he was upset and stuck to the weatherman’s job.
So, accept the mistake, forget the past except for some lessons, and think about possible future options. The more you engage your mind in thinking about future options, you would soon forget the wrong path you’d taken.
Like Robert Iger, several celebrities/achievers had changed their careers after realizing they were pursuing the wrong goal. So, don’t worry and move on. At least, you would have learned some lessons that could be applied elsewhere. Robert writes that his weatherman job taught him how to deliver bad news.
05 — GOOD IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH
One of the toughest leadership challenges is how to address mediocrity inside the organization. The best option is not to provide an opportunity for the mediocrity culture to establish itself.
In his earlier part of a career at ABC Network, Robert worked under Roone. Roone was a legend in the making at that time. He hated mediocrity from people. He would shout at people who didn’t do a great job. Roone abused people who were not good at attention to detail. He demanded that people should work to exceed his expectations. He was not bothered about his subordinate’s abilities.
For Roone, good enough work is not good enough. His mantra was — Do what you need to do to make it better. He had no patience for excuses.
Iger grew in his career by watching Roone’s style of seeking excellence in work. Robert also began practicing and started to enjoy the pursuit of perfection. It became a habit for him. Once we form the habit, it becomes second nature. That’s what happened with Robert. He unconsciously pursued excellence. He always went beyond his job description and did excellent work.
Robert could quickly grow to the leadership role because chasing great work allowed him to continuously learn new skills, knowledge & that helped him to surpass his achievements. Robert was not competing with anybody except himself.
One’s ability to repeatedly aim at delivering great work rather than good work plays a critical role in growing to a leadership position.
As Robert grew in his career, he strived to create an environment in which his people would refuse to accept mediocrity.
Chasing great work rather than good work ensures that people could stretch their abilities, knowledge, and emotional skills. It is the way to surpass your expectations and discover a new version of you that you didn’t know exists.
Chasing great work or excellence enhances every aspect of your life and work. The problem with delivering ‘good enough’ work is that we stop trying to improve.
06 — HELP YOUR COMPANY TO HELP YOURSELF
To quickly grow in your career and become an excellent leader, you should go above and beyond your job description. One of the ways to do that is to think & do the work for the benefit of your company, not for yourself. That’s a critical requirement. It should be ingrained deeply in your mind.
You are doing the additional work for the benefit of all stakeholders, including employees and customers. Your extra efforts should bring value to the company-It could be more money or reputation or satisfying experience for a customer or additional customers or cost-saving measures or something useful to the company that could result in increased profits. Adding value to the company should be the guiding principle-Don’t do additional work to impress the manager or owner or anybody else.
In 1988, ABC sports was covering Winter Olympics at Calgary. Roone was the executive producer for the program.
Robert Iger was in charge of the intricate scheduling of all televised events and communication & negotiations with the Olympic Organizing Committee. He is more like a back-end supporter, dealing with logistics.
Unfortunately, as the days passed, the Winter Olympics began to face problems — Strong winds streamed in on one night, rising the temperature — Snow and the ice on the mountains melted. The Olympic committee had to cancel most of the games — Even when the event happened, cameras struggled to capture anything through the fog. Roone was upset. Every night, the ABC team struggled to show anything that could sustain the interests of viewers.
Robert also felt painful to see the condition. Like others, he could have waited for the situation to turn normal. But, he thought about the company. ABC Sports had paid a substantial amount of money for the coverage of Olympics — The company was also losing money on the prime-time slots — It was clear that ABC Sports was staring at a massive loss — Robert also thought about the people working in the organization — Soon, the company’s losses would affect their lives. It would be a catastrophe.
Remember that nobody would have blamed Robert even if he didn’t take any action to solve the quandary. He might not be losing his job too. However, if you want to grow as a leader, these problems are an opportunity.
Alternatives — Robert approached Olympic Committee members and lobbied them to change the schedule of games so that the ABC Network could show something during the prime time.
To fill the remaining prime time slots, Robert sent a team of producers, each day, to uncover compelling human stories. The team created inspiring narratives -Eddie, The Eagle, and Jamaican Bobsled team were some of those stories.
The Result -The television network picked up the ratings. Robert Iger averted a major disaster for his company and saved many people’s careers. These initiatives helped Robert quickly grow in his career.
07 — LEARNING TO ANTICIPATE PROBLEMS/SITUATIONS
Another essential trait needed for a leader is to anticipate potential problems in a job and take preventive measures. It is also one of the most useful approaches to solve the problem.
The ability to anticipate problems and prevent them from occurring is a key leadership trait.
- Anticipating problems and acting on them develop a proactive mindset. It benefits not only you but your colleagues and the company.
- Being proactive strengthens your differentiation inside your organization and reputation at work. People would find you reliable. Trust builds. It brings loyalty. Greatest leaders are trustworthy.
We saw earlier that ABC Sports got the rights to cover the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary. During the preparation phase, Robert Iger reviewed the game schedules. He observed that the draw of the hockey tournament had the United States playing two of the toughest teams in the world in the first two games.
What If — One of the ways to anticipate problems is to think about What If scenarios — ask What If questions — Consider various situations that might occur and how would you manage them if it happens. Integrate scenario planning into your job description.
Rober Iger asked himself — What If the United States loses both the games? The viewers would lose interest. The ratings and the revenue of advertisements would plummet, affecting the company’s earnings and future.
Should Robert wait for the game results or plan things to control situations, in case those failures happened?
Again, It was not Robert’s job to find solutions for that possible future scenario. Yet, he was thinking about the ways to prevent the problem. The problem was not about the United States losing the game but sustaining the viewer’s interest for more days.
What could Robert do? What’s in his power to influence? Proactive people don’t allow themselves to drown in a feeling of powerlessness.
Robert pondered his available options. He thought that changing the dates of those games would be the best option to sustain the viewer’s interest. As a part of his job, he was already interacting with the Olympic Committee. Robert lobbied them. He showed the committee how the Olympic Association would also benefit from the change in schedule. He spoke about their benefits, not about his company’s interests. The committee finally agreed to change the draw dates.
Robert got involved, took the initiative, and became a part of the solution. His ability to anticipate the potential future problem prevented a situation that would have affected viewers, employees, and the Olympic Association. He also saved future spending of resources, time, and cost.
Robert Steven Kaplan writes in his HBR article, “The secret to career success is Learning to Anticipate. Being able to anticipate situations in your own job as well as that of your manager’s job can go a long way toward helping you stand out in the crowd.”
08 — ELIMINATE EXCUSES
A leader’s other critical trait is to follow the ‘No Excuses’ strategy as much as possible.
It’s quite natural that people are going to face various types of obstacles in their jobs. If you want to grow fast in your career and reach a leadership position, then you need to find a way to overcome those impediments. ‘No Excuses’ is one of the options.
The 1979 World Table Tennis Championships were about to be held at Pyongyang, North Korea. Ronne, ABC Sport’s president, called Robert Iger and said, “This is going to be interesting. Let’s cover Table Tennis on Wide World of Sports. Get telecast rights.”
Robert thought that Roone was joking. Unfortunately, he was not. It’s impossible to secure the rights to an event in North Korea.
A Manager Who Hates Excuses — Roone never liked to hear any excuses — He would shout at people when somebody says a reason for not finishing his/her work. It forced people under him to find a way to accomplish their tasks. That’s the thought we also should have -Imagine that whatever excuse you say, your company/manager is not going to accept. Now, what would be your options?. It would force you to think and find solutions whenever you come across an obstacle in your job.
As we saw earlier, when Ronnie gives the work, we need to think of ‘how to do it?’ rather than ‘Can we do it?’.
Robert, having worked under Roone, developed a habit of not saying any excuses. He would always try to overcome the barriers and accomplish the given responsibilities. Unfortunately, in this scenario, Robert was staring at an unobtainable goal. Yet, he was not ready to give any excuses.
Stretch Yourself — As Roone was serious, Robert began to ponder ways to achieve the goal. If you don’t see any solution to the new problem, then it could also mean that you need to stretch your borders, reach an unfamiliar territory, and gather additional information that could help in finishing the tasks.
Robert Iger decided to stretch himself and reach for the unknown territory for the benefit of his company. He met the head of the World Table Tennis organization and sought their help. As he couldn’t get permission to travel to North Korea to discuss the rights, he met the NK Table Tennis contingent in Beijing, China. By that time, the Asian desk of the U.S State Department called Robert and warned him that his activities were illegal and violation of strict U.S sanctions against doing any business with North Korea. Robert was upset. Still, he was not ready to back out, using the latest impediment as an excuse.
Robert searched for other ways to accomplish the task — He met experts and discussed the laws and the implications — Soon, he came to know that the State Department wasn’t opposed to ABC Sport’s team entering North Korea. The critical impediment was that the American companies were not allowed to pay the North Koreans or enter into a contract with them. It means that Robert could solve the problem if he could work around the laws.
Finally, Robert Iger secured the rights not through the host country but through the World Table Tennis Federation after a series of meetings to convince both the groups. Roone’s team became the first U.S media team to enter North Korea in decades.
‘No Excuses’ strategy helped Robert to gain new knowledge and experience. It boosted his confidence.
Initially, Robert thought that securing broadcast rights was beyond his capabilities. Yet, ‘No Excuses’ strategy helped him to develop new abilities.
You don’t know what you are capable of when you follow the ‘No Excuses’ strategy.
‘No Excuses’ strategy also showed Robert’s persistence -An essential leadership trait.
09 — TARGET EMOTIONAL MIND
Convincing people is an essential trait for a leader.
When Robert Iger became CEO of The Walt Disney organization in 2005, the company was in a downward spiral, losing money rapidly. He had to find a way to quickly turnaround the company.
To turnaround the company, Robert figured out that he has to focus on transforming the animation division as it played a disproportionate influence on the company’s revenue and market share. The animation was the fuel that powered other businesses -consumer products, toys, television, theme parks, merchandise, and other related products. If animation goes, then the company goes.
Robert worked out a possible solution. However, the challenge was that he had to convince his board members that a problem exists in the animation division & there’s an urgent need to make drastic changes. His convincing had to be so good that the board members should be eager to act immediately on solving the problem.
How would you convince people about the impact of the problem so that they would be itching to take action? What would most of the people do in this scenario?
No Facts & Figures — Several people would focus on pointing to the numbers — sales figures, revenues, competitor data, or other information. The truth — Messages communicated through numbers seldom stick with people.
So, what should we do?
The Two Minds — The conventional wisdom in psychology states that our brain isn’t of one mind. It has two independent systems —
- Emotional mind — that is instinctive and feels pain & pleasure
- The Rational Mind — whose function is to analyze and deliberate on things.
The Decision-Making Mind — The highlight of having two independent systems is that most of the decisions are taken by our emotional mind and not the rational mind.
Whenever we present problems in numbers or facts, we are talking to the listener’s rational mind that plays the least role in decision making. For convincing people, our content should be talking to the listener’s emotional brain.
The emotional mind is the one that gets things done. It provides the motivation and energy to the person to execute the project.
So, first target emotional mind and then, the rational mind.
How to target the emotional mind? — Present the evidence in such a way that would make the person feel something — It should hit at the emotional level. It could be a visual display — or, It could be a story — or any other sensory input. All sensory organs have direct shortcuts to our emotional mind. Let’s exploit them. Let people see, hear, taste, touch, or smell, and then experience.
What did Robert Iger do?
Robert combined visual display and a story — He showed the opening of the Honk Kong Disneyland video that happened a few weeks back. Almost every board member had attended that ceremony. In that function, there was a display of floats carrying all the famous Disney characters from the movies — Snow White, Pinocchio, Cinderella, Peter Pan, Little Mermaid, Lion King, and other personas. The floats also had characters from Pixar’s films — Toy Story, Monster’s Inc., Finding Nemo, and others.
While the board members were watching the procession of characters in the film, Robert Iger paused the video and asked them, “Do you people notice anything about this parade?”
The members watched again and shook their heads, symbolically saying that nothing stood out to them.
Robert, pointing at the end of the parade, queried, “Do you see any Disney characters from the last ten years?”
There was nothing!
Robert heard the collective “oohs” from the members. He could see that the discovery had shaken them. The members were speechless for a few seconds. The visual story touched their feeling.
Robert continued, “The last few movies weren’t good. It meant characters weren’t popular or memorable. It had significant ramifications for our other businesses and our brand.”
And, then, Robert tapped another emotion — The Emotion Of Pride.
Robert looked at the board members and added, “Disney was built successfully on creativity, inventive storytelling, and great animation, and very few of our recent films lived up to our storied past.”
He touched the positive emotions associated with the past achievements that could only increase the chances of successful influencing the board members.
The research shows that along with hope, pride is also often described as an emotion that can help trigger and sustain focused and appetitive effort to prepare for upcoming evaluative events. — From Wikipedia.
At the end of the presentation, the board members were shell-shocked. They knew that the company had been struggling, but the reality had never been presented to them this starkly. The board members felt the magnitude of the problem. They became restless and realized the urgent need for transforming the animation division. They began to pester Robert for a solution.
Thus, Robert convinced the board members.
Instead of stating the problem in numbers and facts, Robert targeted their emotional mind and got them emotionally charged & motivated.
10 — MUTUAL VALUE
Another factor that plays a critical role for a leader in influencing people —Mutal Value. We want to influence people not just for our benefit alone but for them too. It should be mutually profitable to each other. That’s a critical requirement.
Dale Carnegie wrote, “The only way I can get you to do anything is by giving you what you want.” That’s the secret ingredient in influencing people.
Dale further wrote, “I often went fishing up in Maine during the summer. Personally, I am very fond of strawberries and cream, but I have found that for some strange reason, fish prefer worms. So when I went fishing, I didn’t think about what I wanted. I thought about what they wanted. I didn’t bait the hook with strawberries and cream. Rather, I dangled a worm or a grasshopper in front of the fish and said, “Wouldn’t you like to have that?”.”
We have to use the same tactic when fishing for people — Dangle things in front of them that they would love to have. To do that, we should know what people would need, want, and desire.
During his initial years as Walt Disney Company’s CEO, Robert wanted to acquire PIXAR. He saw that as the only way to turnaround the struggling Disney’s animation division. However, Pixar’s brand value had recently eclipsed Disney in consumer’s minds. The company was in a better position than Disney at that time. Pixar’s investor Steve Jobs and other stakeholders Ed Catmull & John Lasseter had no reason to sell the company. Yet, Robert wanted to try it.
To convince people, rather than talking about what we would gain, we should talk about what they would reap.
So, to convince John Lasseter and Ed Catmull, Robert Iger had to speak to them in terms of benefits for them, Pixar’s employees, and their customers. Disney’s Pixar acquisition should be a win-win situation for both companies.
Robert Iger had mapped out what Pixar, Ed, and John would win from the acquisition. He had to talk about that before talking about Disney’s gain.
To John, Robert appealed to his emotional mind. He told him, “John, I’d want you to head Disney Animation creative side.” On hearing this, John found it impossible to hide his enthusiasm. He couldn’t believe it. Two decades back, John was fired from Disney studio. It was like a perfect redemption. At the same time, he had massive respect for the heritage of Disney Animation.
John responded enthusiastically, “Well, that would be a dream.”
To Ed Catmull, Robert appealed to his rational mind. He told him the benefits of Pixar being part of Disney Empire — Robert spoke about the technology resources in other parts of Disney that Ed could get his hands-on and how it could help Pixar grow. He also told him how he would get a bigger canvas for him to work. Robert also spoke about other advantages.
Thus, Robert convinced John Lasseter and Ed Catmull.
11 — FEARLESS ATTITUDE
One of the reasons why a person finds it difficult to influence people is that he/she is afraid of establishing a conversation with people. He/she fears that he/she might say something too trivial or obvious thing or something unworthy or irrelevant to the occasion. The fear blocks our mind. We are our judge and the victim.
Fear is one of the hardest handicaps to getting to know people quickly and getting off on a friendly footing — Les Giblin.
FORGET CONSEQUENCES — If you are afraid, you would lose confidence and would start to blabber. It would appear that you aren’t sure about your idea. People don’t like doubters.
Robert Iger was fearless. He wasn’t afraid of proposing his PIXAR ACQUISITION idea to board members or Steve Jobs — He was not bothered about the consequences — He never pondered whether they would laugh at him or tease him. His sole aim was to find a way to communicate the idea and not to think about the consequences. That’s the way forward.
BELIEVE IN YOURSELF — While influencing people, most of us have one more critical fear — We are afraid that a specific person is going to be challenging to deal with — we have an intuition that it would be impossible to convince him/her.
Whatever fear we have, it stays in our subconscious mind that has shortcuts to sensory organs and motor skills. Our subconscious mind might prompt unfriendly body language and inappropriate facial expressions, without our knowledge, towards the other person, resulting in a hostile situation. So, we have to avoid fear at any cost.
Many people told Robert Iger that it would be impossible to deal with Steve Jobs. Yet, Robert believed that Steve would like him and listen to his idea. His positive attitude played a pivotal role in convincing Steve and others.
So, for influencing people, you’ve got to believe that the other fellow is going to like you.
Les Giblin writes, “Your own actions and attitudes affect the scenario. In dealing with other people, most of the time, our attitude is reflected in their behavior. Get over the fear that the other person will snub you — Take the risk. You won’t win every time but the odds are in your favor.”
If you believe in yourself and act as if you believe in yourself, others will believe in you — Les Giblin.
BE ENTHUSIASTIC ABOUT YOUR IDEA — You influence people by publicizing confidence about your idea. Confidence comes when you are enthusiastic about your idea.
Your success in influencing people depends on how enthusiastic you are about the idea.
To influence Pixar people, Robert had to understand their needs, interests, and desires. To understand them, he felt that spending time at the Pixar office would be the best option.
So, one day Robert visited the Pixar office and spent the whole day observing people, processes, and ideas. He began to love the company. Robert realized that Pixar was way ahead in the creative process and organizational culture. He became excited about his idea of acquiring Pixar.
After leaving the Pixar office, Robert Iger immediately called his colleague Tom Staggs and began describing Pixar. He spoke about the level of talent, creative ambition, the commitment to quality, the storytelling ingenuity, the technology, the leadership structure, and the air of enthusiastic collaboration at Pixar. Tom could sense Iger’s enthusiasm.
Listening to Iger’s excitement, Tom also began to feel positive about the idea of merging Pixar with Disney.
As soon as Robert reached Disney’s office, he immediately called his team and shared his stories. People saw his excitement about the idea of buying Pixar. They also began to feel that Pixar’s collaboration would change their lives.
Then, Robert Iger called Steve. Before dialing, he told himself that he should try to contain his enthusiasm. Iger didn’t want to show his desperation to buy Pixar. However, the moment he got Steve on the phone, Robert couldn’t control his excitement. Hearing his voice, Steve realized that Iger wanted to make the deal happen. His seriousness prompted Steve Jobs to ponder positives about the merger.
Robert could influence people because he was always enthusiastic about his solution. He believed in his idea.
Enthusiasm is more contagious than all other pandemics.
Concentrate on being enthusiastic about your idea.
Robert approached his work with humility -It is another critical trait for a leader. Having faced abuses in his early career, Robert advises us to be decent to people. A leader had to treat everyone with fairness and empathy. Be humble and have mutual respect for people.
REFERENCES:: The Ride Of A Lifetime by Robert Iger, How to Motivate Employees to Go Beyond Their Jobs by Mark C. Bolino, Anthony C. Klotz, To Become a Leader, Think Beyond Your Role by Robert Steven Kaplan, To Be a Great Leader, You Need the Right Mindset by Ryan Gottfredson and Chris Reina, How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, Switch by Chip and Dan Heath.