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The Real Lesson to Be Learned From ‘The Last Dance’


The Real Lesson to Be Learned From ‘The Last Dance’ | Inc.com










Icons & Innovators

The Real Lesson to Be Learned From ‘The Last Dance’

Any leader watching “The Last Dance” needs to focus on the real takeaway, and it’s not to “be like Mike.”

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May 2, 2020

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Simon Sinek: These Are Not Unprecedented Times

Bestselling author Simon Sinek is into big ideas, most notably the premise of starting with why: The cause, belief, or purpose that underlies what and how great companies do what they do.Big ideas often go against conventional wisdom, though, especially early on. So it’s no surprise that Sinek thinks recent events create not just challenges, but opportunities. And it’s no surprise, especially for someone who always starts with “Why?” that he shared those perspectives on a recent video conference with his team:These are not unprecedented times. There are many cases — lists of cases — where change, or something unexpected, has put many companies out of business, and made other companies come out stronger and reinvent themselves.
The invention of the Internet put many, many companies out of business. The ones who could not reinvent themselves for the Internet age but rather doubled down on the old way they did business. Every video store is out of business because of streaming. When Starbucks moved into neighborhoods, many coffee shops went out of business. Not because of Starbucks, but because they refused to change the way they did business. Uber is putting taxi companies out of business — not …

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Bill Gates Just Shared a Brutal Truth Very Few People Are Willing to Admit. It All Goes Back to a Decision He Announced on January 13, 2000

I’m kidding, of course. Even with extreme social distancing and staying at home, Gates has been everywhere, at least virtually. This week, Gates’s biggest announcement was that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will spend billions to quickly build seven manufacturing facilities, so that when vaccines for Covid-19 are identified, …

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Warren Buffett Says This Popular Career Advice Is Wrong and Makes No Sense. It’s Like ‘Saving Up Sex for Your Old Age.’

Warren Buffett has offered the public plenty of smart advice over his lifetime. While most of it covers investing tips, much of it has helped people make better choices in life and business. When giving a speech to the University of Georgia students nearly twenty years ago, Buffett began with …

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Jeff Bezos Just Posted an Open Letter to Amazon Employees About the Coronavirus. Every Smart Business Leader Needs to Read It

On Saturday, Bezos posted an open letter to Amazon employees, in which he addresses some of what Amazon will have to navigate as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.I’ll include the original Bezos post below. It’s 534 words, and it’s worth reading in full, especially if you’re a business leader …

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Bill Gates Just Made a Life-Changing Announcement, and It All Goes Back To Where He Ate Lunch On July 5, 1991

It’s a chance to “effectively prioritize my commitment to addressing some of the world’s toughest challenges,” Gates wrote.This is a big announcement, and it’s a long time in coming. In fact, while I know this will sound very specific, you can trace his decision back to a specific moment: …

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Sandra Boynton’s Children’s Books Have Sold 70 Million Copies. With 7 Short Words, She Just Gave Some Amazing Career and Life Advice

If you’ve been either a kid or a parent in the last — 40 years? — you probably know Sandra Boynton.Working from a converted barn in rural Connecticut, Boynton is the author and illustrator behind children’s board books that have sold 70 million copies, according to The Wall Street Journal.Her …

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Bill Gates Is Leaving Microsoft’s Board to Focus on Philanthropic Efforts


Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates is stepping down from the boards of Microsoft and Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffet’s holding company, to focus on his philanthropic efforts, the billionaire announced in a LinkedIn post on Friday. 
“The leadership at the Berkshire companies and Microsoft has never been stronger, so the time is …

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Tom Hanks Tested Positive for Coronavirus. His 12-Word-Response Is a Lesson in Handling a Crisis

Yesterday, Tom Hanks shared with the world that he and his wife, Rita Wilson, had tested positive for the coronavirus. Of course, people started paying attention, because while most Americans don’t yet personally know anyone affected by the global pandemic, everyone knows Tom Hanks. As an icon of Hollywood, Hanks …

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Bob Iger Has Stepped Down as Disney CEO. Here Are 3 Lessons You Should Take From His Leadership

After 15 years at the helm of Disney, Bob Iger, the company’s 6th CEO in the firm’s 100-year history, stepped down and passed the mantel to a three-decade veteran, Bob Chapek. Whether Chapek’s appointment was the correct move remains to be seen.

What can’t be overlooked, however, is Iger’s legacy as CEO. When he took the reins, Disney was floundering somewhat. There was a sense they had lost their way creatively, attendance at their global parks was down, and they were on their way to becoming another unimpressive corporate behemoth.

After a decade and a half under the guidance of Iger, they’re in a better position financially and creatively than any other period of their existence.

Here are three lessons you can learn from Bob Iger’s time in charge:

1. Create a resolute focus on your outcomes.

In his memoir, The Ride of a Lifetime, released last year, Iger set out his core strategy for revitalizing fortunes at Disney. Specifically, he wanted to: 

  1. “Increase the amount of high-quality branded content, we created.”
  2. “Advance technologically, both in our ability to create more compelling products and to deliver those products to consumers.”
  3. “Grow globally.”

What I like about these three strategic pillars are that they are specific enough to be measurable, yet broad enough to allow for flexibility in the decision-making process. 

As we’re coming to the end of the month, now is a good time to review your current strategic pillars. Ensure you have 3 and no more than 5 overarching goals for your organization and that they’re clear, concise and compelling.

2. Execute like crazy.

One of the fundamental tenets for Bob Iger was to move from strategy to execution. Whether it was the more than 40 trips he took to Shanghai during the planning of the $6 billion Disneyland Shanghai or the acquisition of some of the most compelling content producers in Pixar, Marvel, and Lucasfilm, Iger knew it wasn’t enough to set goals. He had a ruthless focus on execution and implementation. He set lofty strategic objectives and took bold moves to get there.

Once you have agreement on your key strategic pillars, you need to build in time to implement. In most organizations running a 90-day sprint focused on execution is long enough to make progress but not too long that you lose sight of the overarching goal.

3. Invest in the people around you.

In a New York Times article last year, Iger was referred to as operating within a “cult of nice.” His interpersonal interactions with people both inside the company and outside reflect a lack of ego. That was most apparent in his desire to ensure that customers and staff at Disney were treated fairly and with respect. 

For each of the acquisitions, he spent time ensuring that the people who were integrating into Disney knew they were valued and appreciated, as that is where the success or failure on the mergers lies. He did this predominantly by promoting the culture of curiosity and optimism in Disney to new employees and encouraged them to embrace the excitement of change rather than worry about it. 

Even with a ruthless focus on execution, it’s crucial to view your people as your most valuable asset and to develop them accordingly. Ultimately, they are the ones who will build your legacy.

Last year Disney produced four $1 billion movies; it launched Disney +, its streaming platform, opened a slew of popular new attractions at its parks across the world, and launched Baby Yoda into the stratosphere. 

It’s clear that as he transitions from CEO to Chairman, Bob Iger has made a profound impact on the future trajectory of Disney.

Published on: Feb 25, 2020

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