Talking Point: The Disney Institute Blog

Leadership Lessons Learned From Mom

May 08, 2014 by Bruce Jones, Senior Programming Director, Disney Institute

With Mother’s Day around the corner, it is the perfect time to reflect on all of the great lessons we have learned from our mothers. From teaching us how to make our beds to how to be kind and considerate of others, Moms are always taking the opportunity to encourage us to grow.

That’s the great thing about Moms. Everything they teach us can somehow be helpful and applicable in nearly every aspect of our life…even business.

A 2014 Huffington Post article, “10 Leadership and Business Lessons My Mother Taught Me,” shows the important role Moms play in helping to mold and shape who we become as business leaders. Here are a few of my favorite points: 

  • “Let no one dare define the boundaries of your ambition.” Mom was my very first cheerleader, and so when the going got tough, she taught me to keep going. The same philosophy applies to the principles of leadership. There are many great stories about Walt Disney’s ambition and optimism as he faced many tough times and challenges early on in his career. In fact, it was Walt’s unwavering optimism during a time of turbulence that led to his greatest innovation: Mickey Mouse.
  • "If your life is not exactly how you want it to be, change it, and in order to change it you have to first dream it." A vision is necessary to achieve success. Whether personal or for your organization, a vision provides a goal to work towards and rallying common purpose. Even Walt Disney himself said, "If you can dream it, you can do."
  • "People around you are lives full of stories, put yourself in their shoes and find your voice of intuition.” Think back to some of the stories your Mom told you, and how they made an emotional connection. No one knew better than Walt Disney himself about the power of storytelling in business. When faced with the challenge of presenting his idea for the world’s first, full-length animated feature film to his team (an outlandish idea at the time), he knew that he needed to truly inspire them to believe in the project. Rather than simply presenting his strategy, he went into elaborate detail to tell them a story about Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Not only was the story memorable, it was the way in which Walt presented it to his team – through traditional storytelling, which made an emotional connection. Never underestimate the power of storytelling….even in business. 

How has your Mom inspired you? What lessons from Mom have you incorporated into your leadership style?



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Posted in Leadership Excellence | Tagged Leadership, Leadership Excellence, Leadership Skills, Leadership Lessons, Mothers Day, Walt Disney, Bruce Jones | 2 Comments

2 Responses to Leadership Lessons Learned From Mom

  • jeff says:

    on June 07, 2014

    Love the first one. Live by it. :)

  • Joey says:

    on June 09, 2014

    Did Walt actually say "If you can dream it, you can do it."? Wasn't it Imagineer, George McGinnis? That is something Walt would have said but I don't think it was coined by him. Anyway, I do love that point and am personally working on that myself! It is both scary and exciting!

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