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The Power of Story

November 29, 2012 by Bruce Jones, Programming Director, Disney Institute

Beginning with Walt Disney himself, Disney leaders have used storytelling to perpetuate the Company’s culture. Disney leaders recognize that stories create an emotional connection that allows them pass on the Company’s traditions, history and values.

In fact, much of what Disney Cast Members know of their leaders, both past and present, is conveyed through stories because they are interesting and memorable. Recognizing this “power of story” is the Disney difference in leadership.

In applying the “power of story,” Disney leaders recognize that the people they lead are doing the same thing an audience does with a character in a story: observing their behavior. The actions of a leader tell the story about what he or she values.

What behaviors do you seek to perpetuate within your organization? What is the story you tell to do so?



Posted in Leadership Excellence | Tagged Leadership, Leadership Excellence, Story | 3 Comments


3 Responses to The Power of Story

  • rebecca says:

    on September 17, 2013

    I am trying to remember two stories that Rob told when he taught our group. One was about the laundry carts and the other had to do with paint and the mixers in the bakery area. Does anyone know what I am talking about and can expand? Thanks!


  • Bruce says:

    on September 20, 2013

    Rebecca, I think we know the two stories you are referencing! The first speaks to engaging those closest to the work to maximize results - When asked how to increase the number of rooms cleaned in a shift, housekeepers said they would need larger carts to carry supplies. It was determined the carts would be too large and, therefore, difficult to move. Housekeepers recommended a motorized cart, but none could be found to purchase, so they partnered with the Maintenance team on a completely new design. The story continues with Disneyland and Walt Disney World Outdoor Vending Departments also adapting this design for their food carts. All this continuous improvement because Cast Members were asked how the job could be done better. The second references the concept of idea sharing — you never know where your next great idea will come from! When a baker heard that painters had found a more efficient way to mix paint, they successfully tested and adapted it to mix batter. After cleaning the paint off, of course! Thanks for reminding us of these great examples!


  • Christi says:

    on October 04, 2013

    As for the painters and bakers, how very "Carousel of Progress" of them! Great stories.


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