Did they take any questions? Say what you want about Disney, but they really are the ones that jump started theme parks and these men knew the mindset of Walt Disney and probably found themselves doing something they never thought they would ever do!
I think several of today's theme park managers/presidents could benefit from a crash course in Walt Disney style leadership - including the current Disney heads!
I also wonder how similar Lasseter and even Jobs (today's Jobs, not the 1984 "I'll fire you if you look the wrong way" Jobs) are to Walt? They both seem to have Walt's same passion, vision, and goal-oriented approach. Hmmm, I also wonder how Walt would have fared in our Great Big, Cut-throat, Money-grabbing, Not-So-Beautiful Tomorrow...
I do, however, have one criticism (not about the article itself, but rather about the inspiration). I'm reading Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination by Neal Gabler, and it seems Walt constantly blamed employees and lost his temper with them (at least in the animation days). He blamed everything and everybody for any little problem. He blamed communism for causing his workers to strike. He blamed his employees' distrust for the company for his economic hardships. He blamed Art Babbitt for just about everything.
Regardless, Walt was still a phenomenal man, and this article was excellent.
But the overall focus of his management, according to the panelists, was positive. While he certainly indulged in moments of self-pity and blame, he didn't allow those to define him or his management style. Simply, he didn't take that stuff seriously, the mood passed, and he moved on.
Contrast that with other managers who do define their leadership negatively, with constant attacks on others.
That said... there was one group Walt did not care to manage in a positive way. Gibson told the story about one day when Walt decided he needed to offer an extra reward to his employees: "'I want all these folks who have worked so hard, and their families, to go to Disneyland,'" Gibson quoted Walt as saying.
"'Except the accountants.'"
Gurr and Sherman namechecked Bob Iger in reference to how much larger the company was now than in Walt's day.
But Buzz Price let Michael Eisner have it for a moment, when talking about Walt's decision to keep Buzz outside the company to do his economic analysis and development feasibility studies. (Buzz's old company, ERA, continues to work as a leading consultant in the themed entertainment industry.)
"He could have done what Mr. Eisner did," Price said. "Put 100 people in strategic planning and create turmoil in the company."
Rogers steered the focus back to Walt, but I could feel the resentment steaming from Price. If you've read his book, you'll know that this is the guy who also dripped skepticism onto the page when writing about the former Premier Parks' acquisition of the Six Flags chain. He didn't like Eisner's business management and he didn't like the Premier Parks deal. Can you tell that Buzz Price is totally my kind of guy? :-)