Great leadership is essentially a combination of three emotional triggers: Friendship, Authority, and Hope. Pixar president Ed Catmull is revered among business development and leadership experts for his remarkable success, but more so for his approach to making others successful.
In a Forbes article, Professor David Slocum reviews Catmull’s book, Creativity, Inc., as “one of the…best books that have been written about creative business and creative leadership. Ever.” here’s what he says:
Reading Creativity, Inc., one can easily appreciate Catmull’s gifts as a leader whose style – deft, open, humble, caring, trusting, purposeful – has built, shaped and sustained an exceptional creative culture…That combination of effectively bringing creativity to his leadership challenges and leadership to his firm’s creative work is rare.
Note the key adjectives used to describe Catmull’s approach: “deft, open, humble, caring, trusting, purposeful.” A generation or two ago, these attributes would have been seen as too soft, even weak for a leader. But in today’s flatter business environments, these values become invitations for contribution rather than directives for duty.
And, they are powerfully persuasive.
We know from neuroscience that people are far more willing to agree, support, and follow your lead when they perceive your proposal as a shared solution; one that includes, respects, and involves their participation. Slocum refers to Catmull’s “tireless communication” and credits Catmull for his “intensive, democratic collaboration” as a central tenet of his leadership style. This is rooted in a mindset that begins with the value and perspective of others.
Even in leadership it’s not how we sell, but why others buy.
Creativity, Inc., coauthored with Amy Wallace, has been nominated for a Goodreads Choice Award: Best Business Books of 2014.