Monday, June 05, 2006

Top Ten Traits that Will Turn You from a Dreamer into a Doer

1. Maintain a clear vision
Always have a clear idea of where you are going – and take along a road map for others to follow.
2. Be optimistic – it’s more fun!
You can be optimistic without being Pollyanna-ish. It’s much more fun to be around optimists than pessimists.
3. Make curiosity your search engine
It’s amazing how many interesting things and people you can find and meet if you never stop searching and learning.
4. Be confident – believe in your ideas.
If you’ve done your homework and are ready to turn that project on, have confidence in your team and yourself.
5. Celebrate creativity.
You would be amazed at where creative ideas can come from, if you remember that no idea – no matter how ‘dumb’ it may sound – is a “bad” idea. Don’t put anything down; celebrate differences.
6. Use storytelling to involve your audience.
We communicate in many ways at Disney. We tell stories with trash cans and colors and costumes. And we communicate with visual literacy – eliminating things that contradict the idea, the theme, or the story.
7. Wear your guest shoes.
At the Disney parks, we don’t have “customers”- everyone is our guest. In this day and age of computer simulation and virtual reality, we are truly empowered with the tools to walk through the physical things we create, long before the first bulldozer arrives on a construction site. Wear your guests’ virtual shoes first. Then, after you build it, use that simulation so you understand what you did wrong – and right!
8. Organize the flow of people and ideas
My colleagues and I are constantly annoyed by the confusion caused by designers who do not “worry the details”- first and foremost about how their creations are actually used by purchasers. In the early days, Walt Disney sent his designers to Disneyland to study where people wanted to go – and only then did he pave all the sidewalks and pathways.
9. Avoid overload – tell one story at a time.
Even before the word “download” found it place in our lexicon, the tendacy to “dump” on even our friends – to make sure they know what we know – is often too tempting to resist. But the true act of communication is knowing when “enough’s enough”! Avoid overload – tell one story at a time.
10. Take a chance
Remember that quote from Walt Disney – “Now that I’m a grandfather and getting on in years, I hope I never forget that you have to keep marching in the parade. You have to be willing to take a chance.”

Marty Sklar
Vice Chairman and Principal Creative Executive
The Walt Disney Company
From the book “The Imagineering Way”