Ed Catmull is a calm, open, genuine person. Three qualities which should be among the assets of any leader. And this book, although its title may make us think of another topic, is in fact about leadership.
And not so much about its classic characteristics, but about the attitude one must have, and what one must generate and expect. Before you immerse yourself in reading the following paragraphs, we warn you that they could cause a degree of unease in some readers, as they are full of counter-intuitive messages, and messages which are seemingly obvious, but which are not easy to apply. We apologize in advance . Let us begin!
“Only when we admit what we don’t know can we trust in learning it”, how difficult it is to recognize our own ignorance!
Once an opportunity has been identified, “the important thing is the story, to trust in the process”. That is, we build the narrative which pushes us to explore the opportunity, and we imagine and trust in the systematic method of rapid experimentation.
We can also read: “The way people interact is the real key.” Ideas come from individuals, but evolve in teams. For that reason “It is better to concentrate on how a team works, and not so much on the talents of the members making it up.”
His idea regarding the future is very interesting, of which he says “The future is not a destination, it is a direction.” Wow!
And as a final word on such a magical book, a final phrase dedicated to the leaders and the beliefs we continue to acquire throughout our professional lives, whether through experience or through training: “The leaders of creative companies should hold on lightly to their goals, and tightly to their intentions”.
While preparing this news, we greatly enjoyed re-reading paragraphs from the book. Have a very happy month!
This is how it begins…
“FOR THIRTEEN YEARS we had a table in the large conference room at Pixar that we call West One. Though it was beautiful, I grew to hate this table. It was long and skinny, like one of those things you’d see in a comedy sketch about an old wealthy couple that sits down for dinner -one person at either end, a candelabra in the middle- and has to shout to make conversation. The table had been chosen by a designer Steve Jobs liked, and it was elegant, all right -but it impeded our work.
We’d hold regular meetings about our movies around that table -thirty of us facing off in two long lines, often with more people seated along the walls -and everyone was so spread out that it was difficult to communicate. For those unlucky enough to be seated at the far ends, ideas didn’t flow because it was nearly impossible to make eye contact without craning your neck.”