Curated by CLAI
As we wrap up 2016, I’ve been reflective on how I lived my 2016 and how I want to live my 2017. I found many nuggets of inspirations in Creative Inc. by Ed Catmull, co-founder of Pixar, on how to better manage people, organizations, and our work lives. He is an amazing storyteller and distilled many truths about creating and maintaining a creative, innovative, and inclusive culture. Many of these thoughts resonated a lot with me on a personal level as well. Here are nine notes of inspiration to be a better you in 2017.
WORK: NURTURING TEAMS OF TOMORROW
Many people ask, what is more important – people or ideas? Ed’s answer is: people, because ideas originate from people. Ideas do not self-generate.
- CREATE GREAT TEAMS FOR GREAT IDEAS: Give an idea to a mediocre team, and they will screw it up. Give a mediocre idea to a great team, and they will either fix it or come up with something better. If you get the team right, chances, are that they’ll get the ideas right.
- HIRE FOR POTENTIAL: When looking to hire people, give their potential to grow more weight than their current skill level. What they will be capable of tomorrow is more important than what they can do today.
- MAKE IT SAFE TO TAKE RISKS: It’s not the manager’s job to prevent risks. It is the manager’s job to make it safe to take them.
LIFE: FAIL OFTEN AND CHEAPLY
We grow up striving to succeed. Success is equated with not failing. However, if we are always afraid to fail, we may not grow to become greater than who are now. Perhaps the real recipe to success is to make the cost of failure low, so we can fail often. That way, we can learn from them more easily and build something that we couldn’t have fathomed before.
- MEASURE PROBLEMS SOLVED NOT MISTAKES: The desire for everything to run smoothly is a false goal – it leads to measuring people by the mistakes they make rather than by their ability to solve problems.
- FAIL – TO DO SOMETHING NEW: Failure isn’t a necessary evil. It is a necessary consequence of doing something new.
- FIX ON THE CHEAP: The cost of preventing errors is often far greater than the cost of fixing them.
RELATIONSHIPS: TRUST, TRANSPARENCY, AND BALANCE
We equate trust to not failing – like I trust you not to let me down. However, we are human and sometimes fail to live up to our promises. So trust in your family, your significant other, your friends, and your colleagues, mean that you trust them to do the best they can. If they screw up, you trust them to try their best to fix it. You trust them to be authentic and transparent with you.
- TRUST EVEN WHEN THEY SCREW UP: Trust doesn’t mean that you trust that someone won’t screw up – it means you trust them even when they do screw up.
- SHOW EARLY AND OFTEN: Don’t wait for things to be perfect before you share them with others. Show early and show often. It’ll be pretty when you get there, but it won’t be pretty along the way. And that’s as it should be.
- FIND BALANCE, NOT STABILITY: Do not accidentally make stability a goal. Balance is more important than stability.
Do you agree with these points? Do you have others to add? Feel free to comment.
- Why Pixar President Ed Catmull’s New Book Is One Of The Best Reads On Creative Leadership (Forbes)
- Pixar Chief’s Book, ‘Creativity Inc.,’ Grips Hollywood’s Imagination (New York Times)