Former Disney executive Doug Lipp shared some valuable leadership lessons.
HIGH POINT — Oswald the Lucky Rabbit wasn’t so lucky for Walt Disney, who lost the rights to his first cartoon creation. But that misfortune taught Disney a valuable lesson, one that can help bedding executives today.
Former Disney executive Doug Lipp made those points in his keynote address at Furniture Today’s first online Bedding Conference, one that drew more than 700 registrations, a record for the conference.
Lipp, a best-selling author and a former training executive at Disney University, talked about how Disney’s successes can help bedding leaders adapt and thrive in today’s rapidly changing mattress world.
His first example came from Walt Disney’s first cartoon character. Using an online poll on the Bedding Conference platform, Lipp asked his listeners to vote on which character Disney created first. Their choices were Mortimer, Oswald, Pluto, Mickey or Felix the Cat. Mickey was the audience choice, garnering 32% of the votes.
But the correct answer, Lipp said, was Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. That name isn’t as well-known, he explained, because Disney failed to legally protect that character, and it was subsequently stolen by an unscrupulous movie distributor.
“Walt was incensed,” Lipp said. “And he made a vow: ‘I will create a new, even better character.’”
His second character was Mortimer Mouse. But Disney’s wife, Lillian, didn’t like “Mortimer,” and Disney was smart enough to listen to his wife. So Mickey Mouse emerged and went on to drive Disney’s success.
That story teaches bedding leaders several lessons, Lipp said. One is the importance of listening. Another is that today’s adversity is tomorrow’s opportunity.
“A good kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you,” Disney said, and Lipp said that is an important mindset for a world dealing with challenges today.
“Yes,” Lipp said, “we have had things kick us in the teeth, but with the right mindset, let’s channel our creativity to make something happen that is powerful.”
He quoted another former Disney executive as saying that head counts and budgets will always be tight, but that creativity is always free. “Walt was all about being positive and being creative,” Lipp said.
Another key Disney lesson: Walk the park. Lipp said that Walt Disney made Disneyland better by walking his park and asking his team members how they would improve the experience for customers.
His address was sponsored by King Koil.
Missed the Bedding Conference? You can still register to watch the sessions at beddingcon.pbmconferences.com