Arts & Entertainment, Business

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.

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

Topics include: Developing the Disney Strategy • Communicating Strategy • Reinforcing Strategic Priorities


- 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...

About the Instructor

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 strategies for expanding a brand, leading with integrity, and making big moves—from risk management to the art of negotiation.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

Bob Iger

Disney CEO Bob Iger teaches you the leadership skills and strategies he used to reimagine one of the world’s most beloved brands.

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