What I learnt from Bob Iger

I have played about with doing some reviews of books, audiobooks and podcasts that I listen to. The sad thing about book reviews is for me personally I do not find them… well interesting. So I started to rack my brains and think of something that would be well more interesting to me. So my idea is this, I will take some of the key messages and talk about how I have applied them and how they have impacted me and others. I hope this will be a more interesting take on a book review.

So for my first one, I am going to discuss some of the concepts from Bob Iger, CEO of The Disney Corporation, and one of the highest-paid CEO’s in the world. His book is called Ride of a Lifetime and works through his history in the media and mainly his time at Disney. Reading this book was prompted by a stay at Disneyland Paris, and me, as usual, wanting to know what made the organisation tick. So searching around after putting the kids to bed one night found Ride of a Lifetime.

So for me, there were four key themes that resonated or had an impact on me.

The first one was around innovation. Bob has a great phrase that he uses at several points in the book, this is innovate or die. For me, this is such an interesting concept we in the world of education have got to a point where there is a pretty standard way of doing things, many feel Ofsted (although they do advocate calculated risk-taking) has removed the ability for the new, innovative, or just plain different! In order to do this, we need as educators and anyone in the position of leadership needs to understand that this requires us all to be bold, be brave and accept the one thing that many of us fear… the possibility of failure. We need to grow to accept failure and that it is a part of true innovation, accept and learn from it then move on. This is something that from Ride of a Lifetime is made clear, Disney has had such success over the recent years as they have broken the cycle of doing what they have always done.

The second was it all starts with the employees, this is so true, the teams that we work as part of, that span across every area of our organisations are key in the success of a business. After being in education for many years it always saddens me when organisations forget especially those front line employees… our tutors and assessors. Working in vocational education with teams spread across the UK it can be a hard task to engage and support all our team members. But this line ‘it all starts with the employees’ made me really sit up and think, sometimes we complicate things, but it not only starts with employees but it starts with you recognising and communicating that as a message. By making sure your front line understand that you know that their role is vital, that is the true first step!

Thirdly, sustainable profits come form optimisation, this one was a key for me. Education is getting a vastly more competitive market, with many organisations coming into a range of segments of the market. So from a financial standpoint optimisation is important… not a new fact for anyone in a position of leadership. However, I think the parts outside of the financial bottom line often get missed in optimisation efforts. We should keep looking at our skills, our brand and our products, never be satisfied to settle but keep pushing to ensure we are the best we can be in every aspect of our business and that we provide that outstanding learner experience.

Finally, do the job you have well, as many of us have been in the past it is very easy to get on the ride of always looking up at the next job, sometimes to the detriment of being able to focus on the here and now. It is so important, and something that I have learnt as I have matured in my thinking is that when it comes to job roles, have an eye on and put the building blocks in place of your next step. However, you must be doing the job you are in now well, and not even well but you must maintain consistently high performance.

Ride of a lifetime is well worth a read if you get round to it would be great to hear your thoughts and what you did with the lessons in it!

Tom has been involved in the fitness industry for nearly 20 years. He is a specialist in rehabilitation, exercise referral and helping other fitness professionals to improve their business. He is also involved with course development, teaching, assessing and IQA of a range of training courses. He is always willing to meet other professionals so please do contact him via social media with any questions or just to say hello.

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