The Pixar Culture of
What is the secret to achieving the world's best track record for consecutive movie smash hits?The folks at Pixar (eight films-all blockbusters) have some insights about what it takes to continually "raise the bar" and lead your industry.
The goal? Simply to be better today than they were yesterday.
Of course, this requires passionate effort with a targeted focus towards a compelling goal. Surprisingly, according to Pixar insiders I know, these can all be accomplished by consistently practicing a peer-driven process for solving problems.
Here are Pixar's keys to creating a culture of consistent excellence:
Every day during a movie shoot, the entire crew watches the footage and shares feedback. It is vital to create a "peer culture", so that everyone fully invested in helping everyone else create great results. Helping people learn the skills of being both honest and respectful encourages earlier and more effective problem solving. When information is freely shared, it becomes everyone's information to improve--for the benefit of everyone. The information/action will ultimately become everyone's anyway...doing this earlier only makes the end product better.
Most organizations suffer from two syndromes:
1. The well-known "not-invented-here" syndrome and
2. The "in-awe-of-the-institution" syndrome (when new hires are too intimidated to share their perspectives.) Encourage well-respected leaders to share the importance of fresh perspectives and examples of how established approaches are sometimes poor choices.
Very few people like doing reviews after a project is over. Invest in the time and effort and force it anyway. Here are a couple of ways to make it less painful: Vary the process each time to keep it fresh; Balance the discussion between what to do differently (and why) and what to repeat because it worked well (and why)--then share it with everyone, completing the circle.
MARK'S ONE-MINUTE TAKEAWAY
When people are engaged in a project, and have the opportunity to really make a difference, magical things can happen. Engage some fresh ideas today--and create some blockbusters of your own!