Walt Disney's Creativity

Walt Disney in the 1940's

Great article about Walt Disney who was blessed with three well understood (often contradictory) attributes that allowed him to be a great visionary, an amazing businessman and be the enduring creative genius that had scalability/originality. I suspect Steve Jobs posses these very same qualities :

There were actually three different Walts: the dreamer, the realist, and the spoiler. You never knew which one was coming into your meeting.

Robert Dilts book substitutes the word ‘critic’ for ’spoiler’, giving three distinct roles that Disney played, each of which involved a particular type of thinking and action:

The Dreamer
* What are you trying to make or achieve?
* What excites and inspires you about it?
* If you could wave a magic wand and do anything you like – what would you create? How would it look? What could you do with it? How would that make you feel?

The Realist

* What resources do you need to make this happen – people, money, materials and technology?
* What’s your plan?
* What obstacles will you face? How will you get around them?

The Critic

At critical stages of the project, step back from your work and ask yourself:

* How does this look? What about the big picture? And the fine detail? How do I feel when I examine it?
* How would it look to a customer? A user? A member of the audience? The client? An expert in this field?
* Is this the best I/we can do? What would make it better?

You can only get so far by trying to play all three roles yourself. You can achieve much more by partnering with people whose natural strengths complement your own. If you’re a hard-headed Realist, look to team up with Dreamers and Critics.

For example, I could have invested a huge amount of time studying graphic design, animation, coding, copywriting and web marketing – and maybe become average at some or even most of them.

And clearly, Disney didn’t make all of those films single-handed. He didn’t just play the three roles in his head – he used them to counterbalance and direct the tendencies of his team. If he felt the team were too bogged down in detail, he would become the playful Dreamer; if they were in danger of getting lost in pie-in-the-sky fantasies, he switched roles to the Realist.

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