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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
Former 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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- 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, former 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.


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

Disney's resurgence is very impressive, and Mr. Iger deserves a lot of that credit!

Nice to hear an ethical, authentic mindset is becoming more ubiquitous in the business world

Informative and I thoroughly enjoyed the class - thank you!

Very well paced course! Bog Iger is awesome! Definitely one of the best CEO!


Stuart G.

Bob Iger's greatest asset is his staff, offering advice but the same time listening to their concerns. Problem solving, working together to enhance the global brand of Disney.

Carolyn S.

Solid, simple advise. Meaningful and will stick in my wee brain. Study and hard work. I always focus on SOLUTIONS - rather than dwell in the problem. What can I do?

Nicholas C.

Beautiful lesson - in communication, and how candid truth is more important than face or measured responses. The deliverance of candid is also important. Fine line between dignified, and arrogant.

A fellow student

Great course. One item of note - the Tenets For Success mention 10 criteria of healthy leadership. There are nine listed. Is the missing criteria attention to detail? :-)


Bob's Advice has the same points as the previous lesson, is this on purpose?


Bob. Very often, people are not unleashing their potential and talents in their workplaces. As leaders and senior management of any organization, how do you suggest we can identify them and help to correct this.

Shawn B.

Bob as a great point about taking some time in solitude to meditate and focus. I especially agree with doing so first thing in the morning. While I am not on the level he is, what I've learned is to always start the day off the same. Begin each day with the same routine (as much as possible) before external forces have an influence on it. This way your mindset is focused and as the unexpected happens, it remains harder to shake up and distract. Basically your morning routine becomes the foundational rock of your day.

Andrea L.

Like the reminder about stillness. "Placing undue emphasis on busyness can rob you of the time you need to step back and process, and problem-solve creatively. That’s an issue." Having a morning routine when you get to work is needed also.


I totally understand his points on solitude and working out...although I changed my workout time from early morning to evening...put in my music and concentrate on me!

Trey W.

I love this lesson. I have used these principles repeatedly, since this lesson.