Bob Iger, CEO of Disney, was recently interviewed at The Atlantic Festival by Lorena Powell Jobs. He shared highlights from his 15-year tenure as CEO, including some musings on his leadership philosophy.
He mentioned three key principles. First, lead with optimism. “No one wants to follow a pessimist,” he said. Second, take bold steps, not baby steps. Leaders need to be able to take risks, and you can’t take those risks if you’re taking baby steps. Third, relentlessly pursue perfection. Never accept good when you can have great.
These principles are ones that you can envision in many leadership situations. Admittedly, the concepts are simple, but certainly not easy to implement.
For example, when times are good, it’s easy to lead with optimism. When challenges are coming at you from all angles, it’s a lot harder to lead with optimism. No matter how tough it may seem, your people are looking for you for direction. If you’re pessimistic, it will have a ripple effect throughout your company.
Being bold takes guts, and fundamental to this concept is your intrinsic belief in what you’re taking on. If you don’t fully believe in it, boldness will flounder.
The pursuit of perfection is a mindset. When you strive to be the best, you’ll never be happy with second best. Excellence will permeate your company and will position you ahead of the pack.
The value of learning from the journeys of others is to take the inspiration from their stories and act on it. Remember, success leaves clues.