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A story from The Push

In his book How to Be Like Walt, author Pat Williams captured the principles of Walt Disney's amazing life, from which we can all learn. Williams shared some of Walt's communications skills:

Those who worked with Walt told me again and again how approachable he was. In 1956, Walt chose renowned orchestra leader Tutti Camarata to establish Disneyland Records (now called Walt Disney Records). "Walt challenged and inspired you by talking to you," Camarata told me. "He wouldn't give you detailed instructions about what he wanted you to do. Instead, he would simply point you in the direction he wanted to go, then leave the rest up to you. He would get you started on the creative process and inspire you with confidence.

As a result, you would go far beyond what you thought you were capable of doing."

Jim Kimball, son of animator Ward Kimball and a longtime Disney employee, told me, "Walt could talk to his artists and get their juices flowing so that they could produce beyond their capabilities. He would have some wildly impossible idea, and he'd tell an artist,

"I know you can do this. Take this project and get it done."

And the artist would think, "I never dreamed I could do something like that, but if Walt says I can do it, then maybe I can." And usually, Walt turned out to be right. He inspired people to do the impossible, and he did it by just talking to people.

Disney executive Orlando Ferrante has helped develop Disney theme parks around the world. He explained Walt's communication skills using sports terms. "I would list Walt Disney among the greatest coaches who ever lived. He drew up the plays, gave us our assignments, inspired us and motivated us. That's what great coaches do."

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