Begin to think about how would you articulate this vision for your future, and then how do you share it with your team to get them excited to help you get there?
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– Hey everybody, Drew McLellan here from Agency Management Institute. This week I’m coming to you from Orlando, Florida. More specifically, I am coming to you from the Walt Disney Suite at the Grand Floridian Hotel. And in a later video, I will tell you the story, the amazing story of how I got to stay in this suite, which is the largest suite on property, for 12 days while I teach workshops here, because it’s a crazy story. But, this week what I want to talk to you about is Walt. One of the amazing things about this suite is that all the decor has come out of the Disney archives. So for example, this photo montage behind me is all photographs of Walt Disney, from family photos with his parents, to the early times when he was an animator and he was still drawing, to later in his life. And all throughout the suite, there are these inspirational concept drawings and all kinds of crazy things that sort of give you a sense of what it was like to be inspired by Walt. So I’m assuming most of you sort of know the Walt Disney story, but let me give it to you in sort of a nutshell. So he started out as an animator, drawing cartoons for newspapers and things like that. He then sort of accidentally created Mickey Mouse. It was really out of spite, because an archrival had stolen an earlier character that he created. And then out of Mickey Mouse came short cartoons, which then led to long, full-length cartoons like Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. And then in the 1950s, what many of us know him for, the theme parks, he opened Disneyland. And after Disneyland was a success, Walt wanted to do something bigger. He had a bigger vision. He was very landlocked at Disneyland. He couldn’t expand, he couldn’t add more things, because they were built right in the middle of a very urban area. And so he went on a secret mission. Created a bunch of dummy companies, bought up a ton of swampland in Orlando before anyone figured out that it was Walt Disney who was buying the land. And that was the start of Walt Disney World. So, early 60s, now Walt is concepting and talking about with his team, the vision he has for Disney World. He’s not only talking about the Magic Kingdom, but he’s talking about what today is Epcot. But sadly in 1966, before they break ground, now they had already prepared the land, they had sort of deswampified the land. I’m sure there’s a more technical name. But they had deswampified the land, they had prepared it, they were getting ready to break ground to start the construction for what today is the Magic Kingdom, and Walt passes away in 1966. So the board calls a special meeting, and they’re like, “We got to scrap the project. No one but Walt can lead this. It was all in his head.” And his brother Roy, his older brother Roy who had already retired, was at the board meeting, and he said, “Absolutely not.” He said, “I am not going to Heaven and explaining to my brother that we did not build Disney World. So I will come out of retirement, and I will project manage the project,” which he did. So fast forward several years later, 1971, Roy is at the grand opening of what he insisted be called Walt Disney World. Walt just wanted to call it Disney World. So anyway, he’s at the grand opening of Walt Disney World, and there’s an infamous story where a reporter says to Roy, “You know, it’s really a shame that Walt did not live to see this.” And he sort of indicated the Magic Kingdom, and Roy looked at him and said, “Young man, if Walt hadn’t seen it first, we wouldn’t be standing here today.” I love that story, and I love that story for a couple of reasons. I love that story because of the commitment that Walt and Roy had. And by the way, if you’re a Traction person, they are the ideal visionary and integrator, so studying them is fascinating. But for the purpose of this video, what I love about that story is the message that Roy sent, which I think was absolutely accurate, which was that one of Walt’s greatest gifts was sharing his vision with his team with such clarity and precision that they literally could then, even in his absence, build what he had envisioned. So that’s my challenge for you today. When you think about your agency, and you think about where you’re headed, number one, do you have a vision? Do you know what you want it to look like a year from now, two years from now, five years from now? And number two, if you got hit by a bus or sucked off the planet by aliens or whatever, or you just, for whatever reason you’re not around for a period of time, long or short, could your team build what you envision? Have you made it very clear to them, crystal clear to them, what it is you are all working towards? One of the things we’ve found in our agency research series and in my conversations with agency employees, one of the things they are hungry for is vision. Understanding why we’re doing what we’re doing. What are we trying to build together? What are we making? Where are we going? And it is our job as the leaders of the organization to make it very clear that this is where we’re headed. This is where we’re headed, and this is why we’re headed there. And that was Walt’s gift. Walt was able to inspire a team, whether it was a group of imagineers creating a new attraction, whether it was a group of animators creating a new story, he was able to infuse in them his vision, so that they could help him bring it to life. So, two questions. Do you have a vision? Could you write a children’s story that describes what you want your agency to evolve to be? What is the ideal state of your agency, and what does it look like, feel like, sound like, smell like? All of those things. And what are you doing to give your team that inspiration at such a deep level that they can feel it and they can see it, and they can help you build it? And by the way, that’s not one conversation. That’s multiple conversations, that’s multiple storytellings. However you decide to transfer your vision to them, you need to do that, because otherwise you are pulling the entire weight of the agency towards your ideal vision of the future without much help. And they want to help you. I promise you, they want to help you get where you want to go. They just need a clear picture. So take a little inspiration from Walt this week, and begin to think about how would you articulate this vision for your future, and then how do you share it with your team to get them excited to help you get there? All right? I’ll see you next week.