Disney, Drones and a “Yes, if” Approach

Identifying goals is one thing. Mapping out how to get there is another. Executive Doug Lipp shares the wisdom that shaped his career, beginning with the Walt Disney Company. When you focus on the how—the daily practices that emphasize values and people—you learn that how you achieve results is as just important as what you achieve from the process.

Doug’s impressive career with the Walt Disney Company began in 1983, and he quickly became an authority on building esteemed organizational culture. His best-selling book Disney U is a framework that companies use world-wide to develop customer service and culture.

Throughout his career Doug was mentored by Marty Sklar, a brilliant Imagineer who is known for his 54-year tenure at Disney, vision designing the Disney Parks, and working under Walt Disney himself. Doug recalls a specific lesson from Marty, “to approach challenges not with limitations—’no, because’—but rather, with imagination first—’yes, if’.

Adopting A Yes Mindset

The advice has helped Doug consult, speak, and lead more passionately. Doug explains, “I think that has set the tone for me and my career. I learned this indirectly even when I didn’t know those specific words when I was at the Disney Company. If you go in with the mindset of ‘yes, if’ versus ‘no, because,’ the avenues that open up to you, the doors that open up to you, are tremendous.”

Yes! Keeps You Going

It’s this mindset that keeps Marty going strong and fuels the unbridled excitement he still has for his work, into his eighties now. Doug shared a project that Marty was recently working on with a group of Imagineers. Given 300 drones and tasked to innovate, Marty challenged the Imagineers to apply the “yes, if” approach.

The result of the project was that the Imagineers turned the drones into the future of what fireworks will be. “So instead of having the pollution from fireworks, we have these really cool drones flying around, forming these beautiful flowers and doves in the air,” says Doug.  The firework-drones have since become an adopted practice by Disney and others.



Hear more about Doug’s uncommon experiences in a two-minute interview with Wisdom Capture.

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