Talking Point: The Disney Institute Blog

Turbulent Times? Here Are The Most Important Things a Leader Can Do

October 04, 2016 by Bruce Jones, Senior Programming Director, Disney Institute

As we discussed in this 2014 post, leaders play a crucial role in establishing the values and vision by which their organization will thrive. At Disney Institute, we believe and teach in our professional development courses that the key to leadership success is recognizing the critical importance of values, and proactively working to not only establish them at the outset, but to really focus also on operationalizing and sustaining them throughout the life of the organization. 

Over time, if not reinforced and protected, organizational values can erode—not just from outside forces, but also from turbulence within the organization. In fact, there may be no better time to actively reinforce an organization’s values than during a merger or acquisition.

Here’s a good example. Earlier this year, it was announced that two well-known technology companies would be coming together via acquisition. In an interview following the announcement, the CEO of the company that was being acquired talked about the importance of preserving the values of his organization throughout the merger and beyond. Why was this so important to him? Here were his comments:

“Every day I come to work, I’m primarily guided by two things: First, realizing our mission and vision. The second thing I focus on every day is making our culture and values come to life.”

Quotes like this demonstrate a leader’s commitment to maintaining the culture and values of the acquired company, even in the face of what could easily be perceived as a major disruption. We further investigate this topic in our Disney’s Approach to Leadership Excellence professional development course, because an organization’s values can clearly be at risk in times of turbulenceand are likely most at risk in times of extreme turbulence, whether external or internal in origin.

As leaders, it is vital that we continuously focus on sustaining the organization’s values, whether acting independently or in alignment with a new partner.

As a leader, how have you helped to reinforce and protect the organization’s values during a time of extreme turbulence?

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Posted in Leadership Excellence | Tagged Leadership, Leadership Excellence, Leadership Skills, Leadership Training, Leadership Styles, Culture Change, Workplace Culture, Company Culture

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