Talking Point: The Disney Institute Blog

Celebrating ‘Values-Infused Leadership’ Inspired by our Founding Fathers

July 01, 2014 by Bruce Jones, Senior Programming Director, Disney Institute

“It’s easy to make decisions when you know what your values are.”
– Roy Disney

Back in 1776, when America’s founding fathers drafted the Declaration of Independence, they also established something vital to our identity as a country: a shared vision for all Americans. And, by documenting our values of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” these great leaders also began to intentionally shape America’s “culture by design.”

As we celebrate America’s Independence Day on July 4th, it’s a great opportunity to take a closer look at the important role that all leaders play in creating and nurturing the values that make up an organization’s culture. Because, just as America’s founding fathers were tasked with establishing a shared vision for our country, today’s leaders are challenged to do the same for their own organizations.

In the Disney’s Approach to Leadership Excellence professional development course, we teach the concept of “Values-Infused Leadership.” It answers the question, “What do leaders do,” by stating: “Leaders establish, operationalize and sustain the values and vision by which their organizations will thrive.”

What do we mean by this? First, let’s define values and vision:

  • What are Values? They are important and lasting beliefs or ideals shared by the members of a culture about what is desirable or undesirable. Personal values influence behavior and attitudes; organizational values serve as broad guidelines in all business interactions.
  • What is Vision? It’s an ambitious view of the future that everyone in the organization can believe in and promises a future that is better than what now exists. The vision represents “where we are going” – the organization’s bridge to the future.

At Disney, our long-term success is dependent upon intentional actions of exceptional leaders who exemplify and infuse in others the values first demonstrated by our founding fathers: Walt and Roy Disney. This values-infused leadership allows us to continue to cultivate success by making what was important to Walt and Roy central to today’s decision making. 

Although Walt and Roy are no longer with us, and our organization has changed over time, the distinct values they imparted and the compelling vision they created still serve as our guide…as do the values and vision of America’s founding fathers. 

Happy Fourth of July – a day that not only celebrates our country’s independence, but also the infusion of a unique set of values and one incredible vision!

Tell us – how can you foster “values-infused leadership” in your own organization? 

We’d love to hear from you! 
Post your response below, or respond to us on Facebook or Twitter using Hashtag #DThinkBlog.

For nearly three decades, Disney Institute has provided engaging and insightful learning opportunities for business professionals and organizations, teaching them the Disney approach to business….focusing on Service, Leadership, Culture, Brand Loyalty, Creativity and Innovation. To learn more about how you can attend an upcoming course, see our full Course Calendar. Not sure which course is best for you? Try our Course Recommender

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Posted in Leadership Excellence | Tagged Leadership, Leader, Values, Values-Infused Leadership, Vision, Culture, Walt Disney, Roy Disney, July 4th, July Fourth, Bruce Jones

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