As a blogger, I may be compensated in some way (either pay, product, or experience) for sharing the post below All opinions are my own. ~Heidi
Last Monday, I shared my thoughts on Life in the Mouse House by Homer Brightman, a book from Theme Park Press. Today, I’ve got another book from Theme Park Press to feature for you . . .
About the Book
LEARN THE SECRETS OF WALT DISNEY’S SUCCESS
Acclaimed Disney expert Jim Korkis tells the stories of what Walt did right, what he did wrong, and how you can follow in his footsteps. Drawing upon his unparalleled knowledge of the Disney Company and its legacy, Korkis distills the essence of Walt Disney’s leadership principles into an exciting narrative of popular history and self-help.
You’ll read not just about what Walt did but why he did it, and how you can apply the lessons to your own life or your own enterprise.
Secrets of Leadership
Who’s the Leader of the Club will teach you how to lead like Walt. You don’t have to be producing animated films or running theme parks to benefit from the innovative but common-sense approaches Walt Disney took to every challenge. In just a few hours, you’ll learn what it took Walt a lifetime to perfect, and you’ll learn how to put it to work for you.
Just as important, Korkis will teach you how not to lead like Walt. No leader is perfect, and Walt had traits that cost him, such as his berating employees in public, never praising an employee for good work, and trying to get the best out of people by pitting them against one another. Despite these flaws, Walt inspired great personal loyalty and devotion. Korkis explains why.
Do you know your story? Walt Disney’s success was built on stories and storytelling: not just fairy tales about princesses and dwarfs, but knowing how to communicate so vividly and so compellingly that others want your story to come true, and will help you make it come true. But first you have to know your story, and then you have to learn how to tell it.
Walt never lost sight of the many stories he told in his lifetime. In Who’s the Leader of the Club?, Jim Korkis tells the stories of Walt’s lifetime, including:
- Leader versus manager: the very different business styles of Walt and Roy Disney
- How Walt handled mistakes—his own and others
- Why laughing and learning were keys to Walt’s success, and how he tried to use them in his films and theme park attractions
- How Walt inspired loyalty, even when he didn’t deserve it, and lessons in how you can do the same
- Never-before-told stories about Walt in action, Disney business history, and Jim Korkis’ own Cast Member experiences
Packed with lessons, anecdotes, and quotes, Who’s the Leader of the Club? comes with all you need to master the Disney way, start telling your story, and become the leader of your club.
About the Author
Jim Korkis is an internationally respected Disney historian who has written hundreds of articles about all things Disney for over three decades. He is also an award-winning teacher, a professional actor and magician, and the author of several books.
Korkis grew up in Glendale, California, right next to Burbank, the home of the Disney studios. As a teenager, Korkis got a chance to meet the Disney animators and Imagineers who lived nearby, and began writing about them for local newspapers.
In 1995, he relocated to Orlando, Florida, where he portrayed the character Prospector Pat in Frontierland at the Magic Kingdom, and Merlin the Magician for the Sword in the Stone ceremony in Fantasyland.
In 1996, Korkis became a full-time animation instructor at the Disney Institute teaching all of their animation classes, as well as those on animation history and improvisational acting techniques. As the Disney Institute re-organized, Jim joined Disney Adult Discoveries, the group that researched, wrote, and facilitated backstage tours and programs for Disney guests and Disneyana conventions.
Eventually, Korkis moved to Epcot as a Coordinator for the College and International Programs, and then as a Coordinator for the Epcot Disney Learning Center. He researched, wrote, and facilitated over two hundred different presentations on Disney history for Cast Members and for such Disney corporate clients as Feld Entertainment, Kodak, Blue Cross, Toys “R” Us, and Military Sales.
Korkis has also been the off-camera announcer for the syndicated television series Secrets of the Animal Kingdom; has written articles for several Disney publications, including Disney Adventures, Disney Files (DVC), Sketches, and Disney Insider; and has worked on many different special projects for the Disney Company.
In 2004, Disney awarded Jim Korkis its prestigious Partners in Excellence award.
Heidi Says . . .
I found myself very drawn to this book. It’s obvious that Walt Disney was a great leader because, even so long after his death, we see so many evidences of this in both the Disney movies and the Disney parks. The Disney company continues to grow and have success because its based on the principles that Walt laid out so long ago.
As someone who serves in a leadership role on two websites – one devoted to homeschooling and another to (what else?) Disney – I read about Walt’s leadership while keeping in mind that I could use many of these methods to make these websites more successful. Just saying that you’re a leader isn’t enough. A good leader needs to Know the Story (what’s the point of this business without a story?), Take (Calculated) Risks (a company needs some risks in order to grow and expand, otherwise it will become stagnant), be Eager to Learn (a leader shouldn’t be a know-it-all, but one who has the ability to learn new things and be open to new ideas), and Understand People (if you understand people and get to know their strengths and weaknesses, you’ll learn how to best utilize these strengths for the betterment of the business). These are just some of Walt’s leadership principles (there are more in the book, under the Leadership Lessons section).
Additional chapters in the book include Walt’s Bad Leadership (which, to me, weren’t really all that bad – especially if you’re open to learning from others’ mistakes), Walt’s Advice to Leaders, quotes from those who knew Walt Remembering Walt’s Leadership, Final Words from Walt, and many more.
One thing I really appreciated about this book was the layout. It wasn’t just your typical left justification layout. Rather, there were important points set out in bullets and bold print, sections with quotes from Walt and/or people who knew Walt (under bubbles called “Walt Said” or “Walt’s Way”), stories set apart in gray boxes, and a quick reference sheet at the end of each chapter.
Whether you are a leader looking for ideas to be more effective and successful or you’re simply interested in the life of Walt Disney, there is definitely plenty in this book for you.
I thought I’d share 2 of my favorite quotes from the book. This first one reminded me so much of myself that it really stood out:
“On one of our last trips, we went to Williamsburg and Charleston, and in Charleston, Walt knew more about the sites than the guides,” remembers Lillian Disney.
Walt often studied extensively before a trip so he could not only appreciate what he was seeing by also be able to ask intelligent questions about the area.
And this one just really showed Walt’s integrity:
“In the early 1960’s, Walt was asked to do a one-minute public service television promotion for the Boys’ Club of America. The script called for some on-camera drawing, but Walt hadn’t drawn in decades. The perfect solution would be Walt at his desk talking about the Boys’ Club. Then he would rise, walk around to the front of his desk, grab a drawing pad and pencil, and being to draw. At this point, we would cut to my hands [wearing Walt’s jewelry] and I would make the drawings. Another cut back to Walt and he would show the completed work. Sneaky, but perfect.
“It was too sneaky for Walt. When we showed him the storyboards, his first comment was: ‘We aren’t going to do it that way. When I come around in front of my desk, Bill will be sitting at a desk behind me. I’ll introduce Bill, and he will make the drawings. At the end cut back to me.’ And that’s what we did. There was no deception involved,” remembered Disney Legend and animator Bill Justice.
That one-minute television public service spot ran for less than a month. It has not been seen again in half a century. It would have been the easiest thing in the world to do a simple deception of Walt doing a drawing, especially with the understanding that it would never be seen again.
For Walt and the rest of the crew, it would have been easier to do it as it was originally staged.
At best, it would have been misleading, and probably no one would have cared. Walt cared. He cared about being honest in all things associated with him, even if it made things more difficult.
It is apparent when a leader has integrity . . .
You can learn more about Who’s the Leader of the Club? and Jim Korkis by visiting Theme Park Press. You can read an excerpt from the book and see some questions & answers with Mr. Korkis as well. Be sure to check out his other books while you’re there!
Stay tuned here to Heidi’s Head. Next up will be my review of Amber Earns her Ears by Amber Michelle Sewell.
***This post made possible by Theme Park Press.***