Business, Arts & Entertainment

The Importance of Risk-Taking

Bob Iger

Lesson time 9:05 min

Bob shares why he thinks taking risks is essential to success, even when they end in failure. He uses an example from early in his career when he made an epic mistake that ultimately yielded a huge success.

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

Topics include: "Fail Daring Greatly" • Don't Withdraw After Failure • Do Your Homework


- Looks like the winds are changing. - Ah, change is good. - Yeah, but it's not easy. [MUSIC PLAYING] - I happen to believe that in businesses that are changing so fast, in a world that is just rife with disruption and the unknowns sometimes can outweigh the knowns, if you try to maintain the status quo, you're likely going to experience more failure than success. The worst thing that a company could do in a dynamic marketplace is to adopt status quo as a strategy. Status quo is a losing strategy. And so if you're going to stray from the status quo or abandon doing things the way they have been or doing things the way a company has been doing them, there's an element of risk right away. Anything that is new and different is risky but necessary. And that's the philosophy that I brought to this job. Almost throughout my life, but certainly throughout my career, I've not been risk-averse. I'm not sure whether I was born without the fear gene or what it is, but I worked for a number of people over the years that were great risk-takers. Michael Eisner was one of them. Roone Arledge, who was the head of ABC Sports at the time that I worked at ABC Sports, was an incredible risk-taker. And I saw that great risk-taking had great benefits. [MUSIC PLAYING] Early in my tenure as the head of ABC Entertainment, when I was developing and programming ABC's primetime television programs and schedule, Steven Bochco, a very successful producer, had produced and a number of shows that were hits for other networks-- namely "Hill Street Blues," and "LA Law," and produced "Doogie Howser, MD" for us, came in with the premise that it was time to do a police musical. He had done a police drama, "Hill Street Blues," and he was enamored of the idea of telling stories on television using songs to, essentially, move the story along. And he pitched to me "Cop Rock." And I thought it was just a brilliant idea-- brilliant because there was nothing like it on television. And I believed at that point that television had gotten fairly boring because most of the shows that were on were derived from similar programs of the past-- comedies, and dramas, and made-for-television movies. And because Steven was such a great producer, I was confident in his ability to produce a great show. In reality, I had no idea whether a singing police drama was going to work or not, but I liked the idea of breaking the mold, and I liked the idea of giving someone who had had so much creative success and someone that I respected so much a chance to try something that was so different. And off we went. - OK, that's it. And hey, hey, (SINGING) Let's be careful out there. Let's be careful out there. - "Cop Rock" was a failure from the moment it went on the air. It lasted 11 shows on ABC. And I went to the wrap party, the party that you have when a series ends, and Steven gave a speech about it's not over until the fat lady sings. And we all looked up, and the...

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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