Its president, Ed Catmull, participated last March in an informal meeting organized by the British weekly “The Economist.” From his intervention, some pearls emerge that any entrepreneur should consider when managing his business.
Scott Berkun, one of the most important writers on management and leadership in the UK, had the opportunity to attend live the interview that Martin Giles (The Economist journalist) made with the direct manager of jewels like “Toy Story,” “Up, “Or” Monsters Inc.” On the Berkun website, you can see the full interview.
On the sarcastic idea, “I only know that I do not know anything”
“We achieved many successes, but, on the fly, we do not realize how we got there or what factors have influenced us. This also causes us to have poorly designed ideas that we end up implementing badly.
This means that the things we are doing wrong are happening right now, but we cannot see them. We must take this premise into account. Through our history as a company, we go from one point to another, and there is always something that happens that we are not able to see “.
About secrets and “management”
“One of the things that surprise me more than one is that I do not have all the answers. At first, it may seem a bit shocking, but after a while, they realize that I do not have the answer to a lot of questions.
By this, I mean that management is not about telling others what they have (or do not have) to do. We discuss, debate, and realize that we are in the same boat and that we must be honest and incredibly open when it comes to focusing on problems.
This causes everyone to feel that they own the company. That is why it is difficult for “secret” information to transcend blogs and Internet media because everyone assumes that this would be wrong and would be an act of treason. Everyone wants to participate in our internal debate and build something together. “
The feedback process (success and failure)
“One of the weapons that our creators have is that they have the last word. This conception which may seem simple, transfers a lot of pressure because, for example, they know that if they do not see themselves as capable of leading a team, we will have to separate them from the project. This is our vision of failure, and it is awfully hard because it becomes personal.
Until you reach that point, you must do everything possible to do it right. Sometimes that means adding more people to the work team and sometimes dispensing with others. But as leaders they are, we do not tell them what they must do. Our work structure allows them to obtain feedback from their peers. Every two months, they present their work to other leaders, working on the feedback they get. This can sometimes cause them to end up abandoning the project.
Throughout this process, it is important that everyone feels that they can be helped and helped when necessary because the pressure can be brutal. However, this communication this feedback has to be done from the honesty of each other because one director cannot tell another what he has to do to improve his film. “
Sincerity and honesty
“Many (in large meetings) do not want to put themselves in evidence, do not want to say something that may sound stupid, do not want to be offensive to other people … so the pressure they impose on themselves begins to emerge. This happens quite often; you soon realize when someone is not being honest.
Then you can organize a meeting between two or three people, ask why you were not sincere, and realize that what was there was a personal motivation. This sometimes forces us to change the dynamics. When we face a complicated problem, which is delaying us, we organize sessions with four or five participants in which we can extract good ideas and sincere thoughts.
When things are going reasonably well in return, we can organize a meeting of about 25 people to discover how things are going, letting everyone express themselves, and contribute to the project. One of the problems of these sessions, however, is that some people, rather than participate in what they do as an act, exhibit themselves. Therefore, it is sometimes difficult to find a balance.
On the Limitations of the market
“If you consider a complete vision, you realize that you can make a film following an artistic vision. I’m making art for art (Ratatouille or Wall-E would fit this vision). On the other hand, you must consider the commercial aspect, in which many films are made only to follow a fashion or a trend. If you only make ‘artistic’ films, you run the risk of failing economically, whereas if you opt exclusively for the commercial side, you lose from the quality side …
When we make a film, we try to unite the best of both visions (artistic and commercial). The trick is to achieve a balance between both sides, not letting one win over the other. That is why many successful companies are so unstable; they must compete in a space that is unstable by nature, dealing with all kinds of pressures that prefer to go to much more conservative and theoretically safe positions.
You cannot bet exclusively on the benefits of being creative and innovative or on developing all the projects that you like. We must find a balance because if one side wins, we lose. “