Mental Post-Its

Thoughts, Notes, and General Mental Mayhem

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Lessons From Disney

Last Monday, Brian White came to speak in staff meeting. He works in the mobile game department at Disney, and also spoke in our senior pastor track last year at The Orange Conference. I really enjoyed hearing about the inner workings of Disney and their cultural. He gave us some really valuable insight, and I thought I’d share it with you.

  1. You can’t fake enthusiasm. People can tell if you are being authentic or not.
  2. Insane talent is not enough. Be sure to play well with others.
  3. Failure can be tolerated, lack of judgement cannot. Failure can still be a path to success. If you’re failing, you probably aren’t trying very hard to make a difference. Lack of judgement is how you treat others or conduct yourself. Do others have to do damage control on your behalf?
  4. Think of art as a team sport. No one can be something big all on their own.
  5. Concentrate on psychographics, not demographics. Disney uses the word “guests” and not “customers.” And they create their experience around the Compass (Needs, Emotions, Stereotypes and Wants – North, East, South, West).
  6. Criticism alone is not valuable feedback. Always include a suggestion or solution.
  7. Focus is the key to organizational momentum. Bobby Iger, former CEO, says their focus is creativity, innovation and going into foreign markets. Examples: Shakespeare In Love vs. Pirates of the Caribbean. Shakespeare In Love was a great movie, but not near the marketing options. Pirates involves many of the staff, so they can rally around the same project.
  8. The guest experience is everyone’s responsibility. This is the thing that really matters. If you think this is beneath you or doesn’t effect you, you have the wrong mindset.

Of course, it was awesome to see all of this unpacked over two hours, but I hope you can still gain some insight from these notes. Now, let’s all go to Disney World for the object lessons!


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Different Drummer, Disney and Orange

Here is a reprint of a post I co-wrote for work about a really unique trip I recently went on.


Recently, our friends at Different Drummer offered two of us Orange staffers a unique opportunity to spend time at Walt Disney Animation Studios with a group of amazing women in ministry from churches all across the country. These women had a variety of Orange experience, ranging from none to some to thinking Orange, which made for a lot of fun discussion. During our two-day visit, we were asked, “What is Orange?” many times. And every time we gave our answer, we would receive a thoughtful and puzzled response—”So, you don’t just work with children’s ministry?” or “I had no idea our church’s entire ministry staff could utilize Orange resources.” So, over the course of the next 36-hours, while experiencing Los Angeles and Disney Studios together, we set the record straight.

It was a wonderful whirlwind of a trip and during our brief stint as VIP’s, our little group of women still found plenty of time to chat. Our first stop was a private screening of the new Winnie the Pooh movie in its entirety and the first four minutes of The Lion King 3D, to be released in July and September, respectively. What great family movies! After the viewing, we were all able to discuss how Pooh and his friends showcase many qualities of a strong Christian family—love, trust and kindness—and do so in a cute and funny storyline. Next, we were off to the Walt Disney Animation Studios where we met with some of the directors, producers, writers and animation artists from the movie. What a unique experience to hear the background on planning, research, casting and implementation of a Disney movie. Several of them also shared their personal testimony and faith with us, and how that is lived out on the job at Disney. They have seen some very cool things happen as they pray for their coworkers.

A few of our other excursions included the opportunity to try our hand as the voiceover for Piglet, speak with an original Pooh animator who has a 50-year-plus career with Disney, tour the archive building with over 65 million sketches from all Disney films, and watch The Lion King animators at work. We even received our very own drawing to take home!

Overall, it was a fantastic behind-the-scenes look at one of the most recognizable companies in the world. We were delighted with the chance to educate those new to Orange, as well as encourage those currently incorporating the strategy. Additionally, it was inspiring for us to hear how these women were serving God and their communities. We definitely made some great friends! And hopefully, they are also now able to answer the question, “What is Orange?”

A big thanks once again to Different Drummer and Disney! And be sure to see Winnie the Pooh at your local theater July 15—it’s a movie the whole family will enjoy!