How To Help Your Creative Team Discover Their Greatness

Phil Cooke

There’s a million books, websites, and conferences out there on how to be a great leader. But when it comes to leading creative people, things start to thin out a bit. When dealing with creative teams, some leaders feel the need to be experts in the area they lead, others are convinced that holding high standards is the secret, and still others think organizational expertise is the key.

But when it comes to leading great creative teams, let me share a little advice from one of the best: Walt Disney. This quote ran in National Geographic in 1963 in a story called “The Magic Worlds of Walt Disney” – 

“You know, I was stumped one day when a little boy asked, “Do you draw Mickey Mouse?” I had to admit I do not draw any more. “Then you think up all the jokes and ideas?” “No,” I said. “I don’t do that.” Finally, he looked at me an said, “Mr. Disney, just what do you do?”

“Well,” I said, “sometimes I think of myself as a little bee. I go from one area of the studio to another and gather pollen and sort of simulate everybody.” I guess that’s the job I do. I certainly don’t consider myself a businessman, and I never did believe I was worth anything as an artist.”

(Walt Disney shows Disneyland plans to Orange County officials, Dec. 1954
by Orange County Archives)

Your #1 job as a leader of creative people is to inspire. Never forget that. It’s not your job to design the logo, shoot the video, write the script, compose the music or micromanage. 

It’s your job to make everyone better at theirs. 

‘How to Help Your Creative Team Discover Their Greatness’ was originally posted here and reposted with permission from the author.

About Phil Cooke

Media Producer / Writer / Speaker / Coach

Helping leaders navigate their career and calling in today’s distracted, media driven culture.

Phil Cooke works at the intersection of faith, media, and culture, and he’s pretty rare – a working producer in Hollywood with a Ph.D. in Theology. His client list includes studios and networks like Walt Disney, Dreamworks, and USA Network, as well as major Christian organizations from Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyer, The Museum of the Bible, The Salvation Army, The YouVersion Bible app, and many more.

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