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Leadership Non-Negotiables

April 10, 2012 by Stephen O'Neil, Marketing Associate, Disney Institute

Bob Iger was not the “odds on favorite” to succeed Michael Eisner as the next CEO of The Walt Disney Company. In fact, he once had a boss tell him that he “wasn’t promotable.” Perhaps this is one reason he lists optimism as an attribute leaders must possess. “You can’t be a pessimist,” Iger says. “When you come to work, you’ve got to show enthusiasm and spirit. You can’t let people see you brought down by the experience of failure. You don’t have that luxury.”

Instead, he believes that big risks must be taken, but with a creative stance. “If you fail, don’t do it with mediocrity - do it with something that was truly original, truly a risk.” One such risk was reversing the company’s view of technology.  What was once viewed as a risk transformed into an opportunity which Iger embraced and grew. Although, if he had failed, many  doubt he would have been discouraged, and if he was, you certainly would not have been able to see it.




Posted in Leadership Excellence | Tagged Leadership Excellence, Bob Iger | 1 Comments


1 Responses to Leadership Non-Negotiables

  • Derek says:

    on April 10, 2012

    Wow, that’s such a great story about Bob Iger’s rise to the top. It reminded me of a similar story that I heard about Dave Matthews (the musician). Supposedly, he had a music teacher in school tell him that music didn’t appear to be “his thing.” Whoops! Plus, I really like Bob’s message on optimism. So many leaders stress the value of a positive mental attitude, but stop short in describing what that means to them in more concrete terms. His message about going “all in” with quality, originality and daringness makes the notion of having a positive attitude something that’s very actionable.


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