The Walt Disney Company is one of the most admired, and most recognised businesses in the world.
What started as a small studio in 1923 with a hand-drawn cartoon mouse is now a global entertainment giant with $US177 billion revenue.
Building a reputable brand and keeping it relevant almost 100 years is no easy feat. The company has even had to change the way it sees the world in order to keep with the evolving consumer landscape.
So how do they do it?
Well, “it’s not secret sauce,” according to the head of Walt Disney International, Andy Bird.
Rather it is about the values the company built and continues to preserve no matter how big it grows.
“[It’s about] honesty and trust and truth, that transparency. Optimism. Integrity. The values that are important in who we are, who we employ, how we want to be perceived, and in the stories that we tell,” he says.
“A lot of the values that you see on screen also evolve from the values of the company. If you’re going to be admired, you want to be respect.
“These are attributes and values that are very important to ourselves and you look for that in people.
“When I’m interviewing someone, everyone wants to work for Disney…. I really want to dig down deep into finding out whether you share the same sort of value set as we aspire to. Those are really important. You start to create that culture.”
When interviewing potential candidates, there is one question in particular that Bird asks to determine whether the person is the right culture fit for Disney.
“One consistent thing I do, I ask people I interview to tell me a story,” he says.
“Tell us a story about something that’s happened in your life.
“It’s important because we’re storytellers.”
From people interviewing for finance roles to HR and everything in between, he said the question still applies.
“People go, ‘Yeah, that’s just for the creatives’. No it’s not.
“Everyone has the ability to be creative if they’re given the opportunity to be… Creativity’s not just about filmmakers, it can be anyone. Some of the best ideas have come out of the finance department.”
He says its about how they present and interpret stories that creates diversity of thought and generates new ideas.
“They all have stories to tell.”
*This author travelled to Los Angeles as a guest Disney.