Have you got any stubborn people in your life? Well, here’s a brilliant life lesson shared by Pixar cofounder and Walt Disney President Ed Catmull.
He spent 26 years working with the notoriously stubborn Steve Jobs, one of Pixar’s other cofounders. Jobs once told him that his method of working things out when people disagreed with him was to “just explain it to them until they understand.”
So Catmull discovered a way to work with that without letting a conversation ever devolve into a heated argument, he said during a recent Stanford Entrepreneurship Corner event, first spotted by Upstart Business Journal.
Catmull was promoting his new book, “Creativity Inc.,” which is loaded with anecdotes about Jobs, the famous late Apple CEO.
This is how Catmull dealt with Jobs:
“In all the 26 years with Steve, Steve and I never had one of these loud verbal arguments and it’s not my nature to do that. … but we did disagree fairly frequently about things. … I would say something to him and he would immediately shoot it down because he could think faster than I could. … I would then wait a week … I’d call him up and I give my counter argument to what he had said and he’d immediately shoot it down. So I had to wait another week, and sometimes this went on for months. But in the end one of three things happened. About a third of the time he said, ‘Oh, I get it, you’re right.’ And that was the end of it. And it was another third of the time in which [I’d] say, ‘Actually I think he is right.’ The other third of the time, where we didn’t reach consensus, he just let me do it my way, never said anything more about it.”
So that’s an interesting strategy: patience; an open mind; a willingness to be wrong; and a willingness to plow ahead when, after a fair effort, agreement didn’t happen.
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