There are two ways to look at a blank sheet of paper. It can be the most frightening thing in the world because you have to make the first mark on it. Or it can be the greatest opportunity in the world because you get to make the first mark – you can let your imagination fly in any direction, and create whole new worlds. -Marty Sklar’s words to the Imagineers in 1966
Retired Disney Imagineer Mary Sklar had a remarkable 54-year career with the Disney organization. His work covered many areas of the organization, but focused on Imagineering, the group Walt created that blended creative imagination with technical know-how.
Sklar is best known for “Mickey’s Ten Commandments,” but in his recently published book Dream It, Do It! he revealed 3 additional lists: 2 on “The Leader’s Bible” and 1 on “Followership.”
The Leader’s Bible, Part One
- Create and maintain a climate of trust.
- Be responsive and make decisions – that’s what leader’s do!
- Empower your teammates – it takes many hands to bake a success.
- Create opportunities for new birds to fly.
- Remember: experience is not a negative.
- Make sure yours is not the only voice you are listening to.
- Celebrate diversity and different points of view.
- Never rest on your laurels – the next at-bat is your most important.
- Take a chance – support risk-taking.
- Provide plenty of blank paper.
The Leader’s Bible, Part Two
- Be optimistic – if you are not positive, who else will be?
- Courage and confidence are major cross streets on the road to success.
- Make curiosity your search engine.
- Learn to love you next assignment – be passionate about whatever you do.
- Provide time to explore – but deadlines are great motivation and discipline.
- Take time to teach – mentors are mensches.
- Forget the politics – it’s not an election!
- Traditions are important – but change is the great dynamic.
- Team and work are four-letter words – but together they spell “winner.”
- Remember: the last three letters of trend are E-N-D!
Sklar’s ideas and principles were developed and implemented over decades of leadership with Disney’s Imagineers. They were formed by lessons learned from Sklar’s mentors, most notably Walt Disney and designer John Hench. They served the team of designers, engineers, architects, technicians, and others responsible for creating the Disney theme park experiences well…
…they will be pretty good for leaders in your organization, too!
Inspired by Dream It, Do It: My Half-Century Creating Disney’s Magic Kingdoms, by Marty Sklar Disney Legend and Imagineering Ambassador