I heard an interview with the president of Pixar, Ed Catmull, when in Chicago recently. He spoke about dealing with blockages to creativity, prompting me to read his book, “Creativity, Inc.” Catmull’s many leadership insights show great relevance to many endeavours, particularly in view of his impact on the culture of Disney animation. He emphasised the power of stories to optimise communication, which must happen at the emotional level. The ability to connect in our communication is a key to successful leadership. Catmull then went on to share some practical steps for facilitating this.
1. Discuss ideas collegially in a forum that removes inhibitive power structures.
2. Add feedback to promote candid discussions which are often too motivated by friendship dynamics.
3. Utilise a brain-trust group of people who understand the art that is being analysed and feed back impartially.
4. Focus the feedback on problems not people.
5. Leave the power of decision with responsible people, not the brain-trust.
6. Guard against emotion that anticipates people’s reactions.
7. Deal with fear to promote team honesty; search and destroy!
8. Use pressure to create and release positive energy and to avoid getting bogged down in details.
9. Introspection and post-mortems need variety to break down resistance.
10. Head chatter is the devil’s talk; get alone and be calm to refresh.