Business, Politics & Society

Focus, Strategy & Priorities

Bob Iger

Lesson time 8:51 min

Bob believes you must narrow your focus to develop a successful strategy. He illustrates this point by explaining how he ultimately convinced the Disney board that he should become the next CEO.

Bob Iger
Teaches Business Strategy and Leadership
Disney CEO Bob Iger teaches you the leadership skills and strategies he used to reimagine the future of one of the world’s most beloved brands.
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- Always remember, your focus determines your reality. - Focus is very important for good leadership, because people need to have a sense of what the priorities of the organization that they work for are and what their priorities need to be-- meaning not just a set of values and how they behave, but how they spend their time. What's important in terms of what they do at work? And that obviously ties directly to a strategic focus of the company. In 2004, the board decided that a new CEO needed to be chosen for the company. And I was the only internal candidate. And I was beginning a process that ultimately would lead to multiple interviews with board members. And a couple of interviews were the entire board and myself. And I knew in entering that process that I was going to be pressed by board members-- not just once, but maybe throughout the process-- about how I intended to run the company, what the company's priorities needed to be, what our strategic focus needed to be-- essentially, how were we going to operate the company. And just as important as that, how were we going to allocate capital. As I began to think that through, a friend of mine who had been a marketing and political consultant-- and quite a successful one-- came in and handed me a deck, basically a 10-page document, that he said was my campaign. And I said, campaign? And he said, this is a political campaign-- essentially, describing to me a process that would mirror the same process that a candidate may go through to convince voters to elect them. And he wasn't necessarily defining what the strategies needed to be, because he was not in our business and he certainly was not considering running the Walt Disney Company. But essentially, what he was telling me was that I had to articulate what the strategy needed to be. And in doing so, I couldn't have 10 strategies. I needed to have just a few. And in fact, he asked the question, what are your priorities? And I started to list them. And when I got to five or six, he said, stop right there. I think he actually faked the yarn. And he was suggesting to me that if you are going to have strategies for the company, they needed to be just a few of them. They couldn't be many of them. The reason for that was that the more you had, the less focus there would be and the more spread out the allocation of time and capital would be. And so he caused me to focus, which was a great thing, on just what the strategies or the strategic priorities needed to be. And I came up with three of them at the time. The first one was to invest most of our capital in creativity. What I actually said at the time was high-quality branded content, or creativity. The second one was using technology in a way that would enable us to tell our stories or to make our content more compelling and higher quality, but also to use technology to reach people in more innovative ways. And then the third strategy was to grow globally. W...

Embrace risk, build resilience

In an era of disruption, Disney CEO Bob Iger led one of the world’s most beloved brands to unprecedented success with the acquisitions of Pixar, Marvel, and Lucasfilm. Now, through case studies and lessons from 45 years in media, Bob teaches you how to evolve your business and career. Learn Bob’s strategies for expanding a brand, leading with integrity, and making big moves—from risk management to the art of negotiation.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

Great Masterclass. I wish Bob Iger had more time here to go into more detail. It would be great to have a second session with him and other popular talents on MasterClass where they go into more detail on particular topics.

The reason I signed up for MC. Great hearing Iger speak about his experiences. Straightforward and honest with solid advice for success.

I enjoyed listening to Bob. Especially with regards to the formation of Disney+ and moving towards the future with all Disney's acquisitions

I'm working on creating an app, and a lot of the elements in this class related directly to some of the business strategies I was trying to implement. I feel better prepared now for the unknown seeing someone of such stature also dive into the unknown, time after time. Without risk there is no reward.


A fellow student

This lesson really mirrors what I did when I took my job in the currently company and basically has to "sell" the strategy to the internal stakeholders before getting them implemented. I think most of the times people underestimate the work to engage & communicate with internal stakeholders throughout the process.

Gladys P.

A good strategy is only as good as your ability to articulate it, and re-articulate it, again and again. Powerful lesson in cascading strategies to team members, and ensuring through regular feedback that everyone is on the same page.

Melissa I.

I think a challenge can be found in how your define / operationalize "priorities." I've reported to people who define them so large that they are meaningless ("be the international leader in ...") or so narrowly that they're basically a to-do list. What I wouldn't give to hear Iger talk more about how he uses the concept!

Kevin B.

As beginning engineer, this lesson summarises every important key point that I learned t school in the last 3 years. although I already knew much, It's so great to hear it from my inspiration source. This lesson gives me much clarity about the discussed points!

Jordan S.

I've personally gained a ton of value from having that quiet time in the morning over the last few months. Before checking emails I practice gratitude, journal, meditate and read. It's in these moments of solitude that I am able to focus on the bigger picture and allow my creativity to flow. Still not able to wake up at 4:15 am though, lol.

Andrew L.

Wow. So much content here. I loved looking at only a few goals and realizing that it is a campaign to win others over. I have had so many ideas or the ideas have been so laser focused that they didn't allow for the broader scope - such as Using Technology. I love that because it can fit many things and helps give guidance to those that are working to meet the goals of the organization. I see I have some work to do with my team on this.

Jamal M.

Boiling down all you want to do, to a few points is essential. And that is my big takeaway from this chapter.

Melanie R.

Watching this lesson made me evaluate my last several years in leadership. I just realized recently the necessity of keeping the strategy you pushed simple and few. It is a very valuable data that would have saved me a lot of time. I absolutely watching the other videos as soon as I can.

alexandre R.

Really enjoying this MasterClass so far. Feels like an old friend just catching up with you rather than a teacher recycling information, fantastic delivery. It’s also fascinating how everything is built around clarity, focus and then intergrating the team regardless of their position. Also really comforting to hear the work that’s gone into making Mr Iger successful. Need a new note book by the end of this class I think.

Susan D.

Owning my own business it's nice to hear someone speak about similar situations from a relaxed perspective. Hearing it in a casual and balanced conversation tells me that all the situations I go through are normal and typical. And that everything is alright.