Avoiding Leadership “Arthritis of the Imagination”

Leadership Courage is a trait sorely lacking in many organizations. Too many leaders and managers are afraid to ask the tough questions and challenge the status quo.  Too many people are simply afraid to stir the pot.

Van France, the man hired by Walt Disney to start the Disney University, wasn’t afraid to stir the pot. Here are a few choice words from a memo Van wrote to Disney leadership when proposing making some changes at Disneyland. Despite Disneyland’s success, Van saw some emerging problems … and he addressed them.

“Are we growing with the show, or just getting older?  The trouble with people is that we get hardening of the mental arteries, cirrhosis of the enthusiasm and arthritis of the imagination, along with chronic and sometimes acute allergies to supervision, subordinates, the whole darned system.  Is it possible that what we have gained through experience, we have lost through habit, and that what we have gained through organization, we have lost in enthusiasm?”

Van France stirred the pot. Van France helped Disneyland grow and thrive. Does your organization have the equivalent of a Van France asking the tough questions, demonstrating leadership courage?

Excerpt from:

Disney U:

How Disney University Develops the World’s Most Engaged,

Loyal and Customer-Centric Employees