Use Your Own People

Recently I finished reading Louis J. Prosperi’s book “The Imagineering Pyramid: Using Disney Theme Park Design Principles to Develop and Promote Your Creativity Ideas”. I won’t go much into the book as the title is pretty self-descriptive.

I did want to share one thought that really struck a chord:

When Walt Disney first began planning for Disneyland, he approached his friend and noted Los Angeles architect Welton Becket about working on the project. (…) Becket told Walt that he should use his own people, because they understood the type of storytelling he was looking for with Disneyland.

I’ve seen many situations, where company leadership will forgo listening to their employees – people they apparently hired, because of their skills / knowledge / experience and trust (?) – instead relying on consultants to tell them what to do. As a former consultant, I know that the greatest value-add we provided was listening to the people and echoing their comments / ides / solutions to management for broader adoption. Yes, sometimes we mixed in best practices from other engagements, but most of the work could be done easily, because management didn’t listen to their own people (and we did).

This is also true in the world of Agile coaching. When I’m in that role, I listen to the team’s problems and work with them on devising experiments to resolve the problems or improve the team. In a role of an employee, I’d like the same courtesy from my superiors – listen to what I have to say and use my expertise. If I didn’t want to apply it here, I’d go looking for a different job.



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