The Ride of a lifetime Summary Author says Be decent to people. Treat everyone with fairness and empathy. This doesn’t mean that you lower your expectations or convey the message that mistakes don’t matter. It means that you create an environment where people know you’ll hear them out, that you’re emotionally consistent and fair minded, and that they’ll be given second chances for honest mistakes.
THE RIDE OF A LIFETIME : LESSONS IN CREATIVE LEADERSHIP
The Ride of a Lifetime By Robert Iger Summary
The Robert Says there are ten principles that strike me as necessary to true leadership. I hope they’ll serve you as well as they’ve served me.
OPTIMISM : One of the most important qualities of a good leader is optimism, a pragmatic enthusiasm for what can be achieved. Even in the face of difficult choices and less than ideal outcomes, an optimistic leader does not yield to pessimism. Simply put, people are not motivated or energized by pessimists.
COURAGE : The foundation of risk-taking is courage, and in ever-changing, disrupted businesses, risk taking is essential, innovation is vital, and true innovation occurs only when people have courage. This is true of acquisitions, investments, and capital allocations, and it particularly applies to creative decisions. Fear of failure destroys creativity.
FOCUS : Allocating time, energy, and resources to the strategies, problems, and projects that are of highest importance and value is extremely important, and it’s imperative to communicate your priorities clearly and often.
DECISIVINESS : All decisions, no matter how difficult, can and should be made in a timely way. Leaders must encourage a diversity of opinion balanced with the need to make and implement decisions. Chronic indecision is not only inefficient and counterproductive, but it is deeply corrosive to morale.
CURIOSITY : A deep and abiding curiosity enables the discovery of new people, places, and ideas, as well as an awareness and an understanding of the marketplace and its changing dynamics. The path to innovation begins with curiosity.
FAIRNESS : Strong leadership embodies the fair and decent treatment of people. Empathy is essential, as is accessibility. People committing honest mistakes deserve second chances, and judging people too harshly generates fear and anxiety, which discourage communication and innovation. Nothing is worse to an organization than a culture of fear.
THOUGHTFULNESS : Thoughtfulness is one of the most underrated elements of good leadership. It is the process of gaining knowledge, so an opinion rendered or decision made is more credible and more likely to be correct. It’s simply about taking the time to develop informed opinions.
AUTHENTICITY : Be genuine. Be honest. Don’t fake anything. Truth and authenticity breed respect and trust.
THE RELENTLESS PERSUIT OF PERFECTION : This doesn’t mean perfectionism at all costs, but it does mean a refusal to accept mediocrity or make excuses for something being “good enough.” If you believe that something can be made better, put in the effort to do it. If you’re in the business of making things, be in the business of making things great.
INTEGRITY : Nothing is more important than the quality and integrity of an organization’s people and its product. A company’s success depends on setting high ethical standards for all things, big and small. Another way of saying this is: The way you do anything is the way you do everything.
The Ride of a Lifetime Lessons
Take responsibility when you screw up. In work, in life, you’ll be more respected and trusted by the people around you if you own up to your mistakes. It’s impossible to avoid them; but it is possible to acknowledge them, learn from them, and set an example that it’s okay to get things wrong sometimes.
If you’re in the business of making something, be in the business of making something great.
True integrity—a sense of knowing who you are and being guided by your own clear sense of right and wrong—is a kind of secret leadership weapon. If you trust your own instincts and treat people with respect, the company will come to represent the values you live by.
As a leader, if you don’t do the work, the people around you are going to know, and you’ll lose their respect fast. You have to be attentive. You often have to sit through meetings that, if given the choice, you might choose not to sit through. You have to listen to other people’s problems and help find solutions. It’s all part of the job.
You have to convey your priorities clearly and repeatedly. If you don’t articulate your priorities clearly, then the people around you don’t know what their own should be. Time and energy and capital get wasted.
As a leader, you are the embodiment of that company. What that means is this: Your values—your sense of integrity and decency and honesty, the way you comport yourself in the world—are a stand-in for the values of the company. You can be the head of a seven-person organization or a quarter-million-person organization, and the same truth holds: what people think of you is what they’ll think of your company.
Hold on to your awareness of yourself, even as the world tells you how important and powerful you are. The moment you start to believe it all too much, the moment you look at yourself in the mirror and see a title emblazoned on your forehead, you’ve lost your way.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
ROBERT IGER is chairman and CEO of the Walt Disney Company. He previously served as president and CEO, beginning in October 2005, and was president and COO from 2000 to 2005. Iger began his career at ABC in 1974, and as chairman of the ABC Group he oversaw the broadcast television network and station group and cable television properties, and guided the merger between Capital Cities/ABC and the Walt Disney Company. Iger officially joined the Disney senior management team in 1996 as chairman of the Disney-owned ABC Group, and in 1999 was given the additional responsibility of president, Walt Disney International. In that role, Iger expanded Disney’s presence outside of the United States, establishing the blueprint for the company’s international growth today.