“You have to get along with people, but you also have to recognize that the strength of a team is different people with different perspectives and different personalities.” –Steve Case
Walt Disney left an indelible mark on both American culture and the entertainment industry. Out of the thousands of Disney anecdotes, one should hit home with any change agent. One of Disney’s animators said of him, “There were actually three different Walts. The dreamer, the realist, and the spoiler.” As leaders, we should recognize those three elements can and should exist within us all, and then manage how those different faces are presented to our teams in problem-solving exercises.
As the dreamer, we should foster the innate creativity that exists within ourselves and our teams.
As the realist, an honest evaluation of the “what if we” is translated into the either a workable plan or repurposed/ retooled to fit our unique set of resources.
As the spoiler, play a different set of “what ifs” in which we identify obstacles that bar us from an optimal outcome.
Each of the three aspects of Disney must be applied consistently and evenly when approaching any problem. If we allow our teams to focus on being dreamers, without a dose of realism, the scale of our solutions could run amok. Building miniature drones to zap wasps invading the factory floor might solve a bug problem, but it’s not a feasible solution. Using a small drone with a live camera feed to identify insect nests on high support columns would be a more realistic component to solving an infestation.
Mastery of the three aspects of Disney requires, like many disciplines, balance and self-examination. Only when we adjust our inner dreamer, realist, and spoiler to their proper proportions can we teach our team the same skill set. While we’re collectively learning, however, we can “assign” those roles to specific team members to artificially create them on the team. Much like Edward de Bono’s Six Thinking Hats, including our team members in this role-playing exercise is a great way to balance the three perspectives until we develop the disciplines across the team.
Different Perspectives, Better Solutions: Accelerators
- Which of Disney’s perspectives comes most naturally to you?
- Think about how you could apply the other Disney perspectives in your team this week.
- Consider reading a copy of Edward de Bono’s Six Thinking Hats and develop a plan to apply the principles in your next team planning session.
Dr. Jeff D. Standridge is the best-selling author of “The Innovator’s Field Guide” and “The Top Performer’s Field Guide.” He serves as Managing Director for the Conductor and Innovation Junkie, and teaches in the College of Business at the University of Central Arkansas. Jeff helps organizations and their leaders generate sustained results in the areas of innovation, strategy, profit growth, organizational effectiveness and leadership. Learn more at InnovationJunkie.com.