The Quotable Walt Disney

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Having recently returned from Disney World, I find I am flushed with insights and quotes after immersing myself in all things Disney for the last 10 days.

Here are some of my favorites quotes from a book I recently read on Walt and his philosophies on life and business.

We allow no geniuses around our studios.

I could never convince the financiers that Disneyland was feasible, because dreams offer too little collateral.

I’ve never believed in doing sequels. I didn’t want to waste the time I have doing a sequel; I’d rather be using that time doing something new and different. It goes back to when they wanted me to do more pigs (Three Little Pigs).

When we opened Disneyland, a lot of people got the impression that it was a get-rich-quick thing, but they didn’t realize Disneyland was this great organization that I built here at the Studio, and they all got into it and we were doing it because we loved to do it.

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A word may be said in regard to the concept and conduct of Disneyland’s operational tone. Although various sections will have the fun and flavor or a carnival or amusement park, there will be none of the ‘pitches’, game wheels, sharp practices, and devices designed to milk the visitor’s pocketbook.

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I had different costs estimates; one time it was three and half million and then I kept fooling around a little more with it and got it up to seven and a half million and I kept fooling around a little more and pretty soon it was twelve and a half and I think when we opened Disneyland it was seventeen million dollars.

Everyone needs deadlines. Even the beavers. They loaf around all summer, but when they are faced with the winter deadline, they work like fury. If we didn’t have deadlines, we’d stagnate.

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If I were a fatalist, or a mystic, which I decidedly am not, it might be appropriate to say I believe in my lucky star. But I reject ‘luck’ – I feel every person creates his own ‘determinism’ by discovering his best aptitudes and following them undeviatingly.

No matter what the provocation, I never fire a man who is honestly trying to deliver a job. Few workers who become established at the Disney Studio ever leave voluntarily or otherwise, and many have been on the payroll all their working lives.

Happiness is a state of mind. It’s just according to the way you look at things. So I think happiness is contentment but it doesn’t mean you have to have wealth. All individuals are different and some of us just wouldn’t be satisfied with just carrying out a routine job and being happy.

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You reach a point where you don’t work for money.

Some people forget that you can still do good work even though you work with dollar bills. We took almost nine years to make Fantasia, and if we had to do it again I’d take a long hard look at it, because today it would cost us fifteen million dollars. At some state or other I have to walk in and tell the boys, ‘OK. Start wrapping it up.’ If I didn’t, we’d never get the work finished. But that doesn’t mean we pull back on quality.

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Everyone has been remarkably influenced by a book, or books. In my case it was a book on cartoon animation. I discovered it in Kansas City Library at the time I was preparing to make motion-picture animation my life’s work. The book told me all I needed to know as a beginner – all about the the arts and the mechanics of making drawing that move on the theatre screen. From the basic information I could go on to develop my own way of movie storytelling. Find that book was one of the most important and useful events in my life. It happened at just the right time. The right time for reading a story or an article or a book is important. By trying too hard to read a book that, for our age and understanding, is beyond us, we may tire of it. Then, even after, we’ll avoid it and deny ourselves the delights it holds.

There are some gems in there – quotes that really resonate with me (especially on the virtues of hard work, aligning talent, and putting your heart into it).

I hope this quotes do the same for you.

The difference between incentives and motivations

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BBCs’ September 6 2012 InBiz podcast this morning had a good piece with Clayton Christensen, The Innovators Dilemna, where Clayton thinks that conventional businesses with their bonus driven mentality, often have the wrong idea about motivating the people how work for them.

Clayton Christensen:

There really is a difference between incentives and motivation. What an incentive is ‘I am going to pay you to want what I want.’ And as along as you pay people to want what you want they do it. The minute you stop paying them, to want what you want, they stop. And they are not motivated to do anything. They were just incentivized to do just that.

What motivation is in contrast, is an engine inside of you, that you are so committed to, that whether you are paid or not, it causes you to want to keep sacrificing and serving for the cause that you’re engaged in.

And so if you want people that are working with you or for you to be motivated, then what you have to do is help them see in the work what it is that causes them to be motivated.

The most important of these is achievement. And then right after that comes recognition, and responsibility, the opportunity to learn, and once I realized that if I can create a company like that my people will be with me regardless of whether we are doing poorly or doing well.

Instead what most managers do is they confuse motivation with incentives and therefore the people that work for them, don’t have those motivators in their lives and you just pay them to want what you want.

End.

I am glad to see this being talked about more in business. I think we need it. Also think it is the most important question to answer before starting a company.

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