As seen on Fox Business.
To infinity and beyond: That’s where Pixar Animation and Walt Disney Animation Studios are headed, provided they maintain the type of leaders that have gotten them this far. Ed Catmull, President of Pixar Animation and Walt Disney Animation Studios, describes what he’s learned about leadership and corporate culture in his excellent new book, Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration.
Pixar has been phenomenally successful with the likes of Toy Story, The Incredibles, Finding Nemo, and Up, to name but a few of its films. In 2006, Disney bought Pixar to boost its struggling Walt Disney Animation Studios unit. Catmull and John Lasseter, Pixar’s CEO, were appointed to lead the unit as president and CEO, respectively. With the leadership change, Disney began to produce hits such as Tangled and Wreck-It Ralph. If any doubt existed that Disney’s magic was back, it was put to rest with the 2013 release of the blockbuster movie Frozen. Having earned well over a billion dollars in revenue at the box office in its first six months, Frozen became the highest-grossing animated feature ever and moved into the top-10 worldwide highest grossing movies of all time.
The success of Pixar and Disney Animation begs the question: what’s the secret sauce? In a word, it’s “culture,” i.e. the shared attitudes, language and behavior that consistently produce excellence in a given endeavor. With 70 percent of American workers disengaged today, Pixar and Disney Animation provide a model for engaging and energizing employees by making culture a competitive advantage.
Here are three ways Catmull and his leadership team create a culture that consistently makes great films.