Are you a budding manager who is looking for a management model that has been proven to work. Well look no further than Creativity Inc, the story of Ed Catmull the co-counder of Pixar Entertainment and his passion for creating a progressive forward thinking and acceptance of continuous change within the corporate structure. In a simple statement, this may well be the greatest leadership and management book ever written. As Ed states, “I would devote myself to learning how to build not just a successful company but a sustainable creative culture.”
For those of you stuck in the corporate crunch, a lot of things you will hear in this book will make you instantly think, wow! With one internal goal revolving his want to launch a computer generated animation to the world, his dedication and purpose has turned ones own goal into a world changing and defining company. The beauty of this book, is that it is both a story based on Ed’s life, in building the Pixar company and all the lessons he has learnt along the way, structuring the stories to explain methods that you can also adopt within your own organisation. To use the old mantra of thinking out the square, this book is all about looking at people management and fusing it with creative mind to bring what is clearly a methodology that works.
While many companies are risk averse, not willing to take chance on opportunities that may well seem by most conservative people to be an uncomfortable proposition, his attitude towards failure and the fear of failure, is to eliminate it. Promote people to not think about the failure, but more what can be learnt from a continuous improvement model. That ideas can continuously change and evolve and not to hold to the original premise of ideas, from start to finish is a recipe in itself for failure. The discussion of the ‘brains trust’ is a simple way of looking at ideas and receiving continuous feedback during the creative process.
Ed is quite candid with divulging his errors and what he has learnt from them and ironically the ability to introduce a candid approach to both his and his organisations communication is one, which I believe is a highlight. Flattening the company structure so that all feel their input and contributions are as valuable as those above. Many organisations could learn a heck of a lot from this. Empowering your colleagues to have the ability to not fear the what if moment, if something happens to go wrong, but to understand and learn from these situations is quite refreshing.
Whilst many company leaders may state that they are not in a creative field, stand corrected, because without creativity there is no forward progression within any industry. His stories of dealing with different personality types is quite interesting but fundamentally everything comes down to a certain level of trust. While many of us creating companies get that continuous vibe of things are too tuff to continue to handle, getting the perspective of the pressures of someone who was under the pump for several decades before breaking through, is something everyone can take with a certain comfort, that even the best of us struggle. Nothing is ever easy and as the saying goes if it was, then everyone would be doing it.
If you want to open your mind to a different way of doing things within your culture and organisation, I highly recommend you get 10 copies of this book and share it amongst your team. You can only benefit and while you may only take a few things away from this amazing book, they can only benefit your organisation in the long run. Be inspired, be thought provoking, take risks, be continuously improving yourself and your ideas and most of all eliminate fear of failure and you will build an organisation built on empowerment and trust, just as Ed has done over his amazing career. I feel tremendously inspired and am thinking of ways to implement what I have learnt into my huge company of two.