Truth Is Just Perception

The Management Lesson Of Pixar’s Boss

What should we do when everything goes wrong?

FastCompany‘s website recently published an article on Dan Scanlon, director of Pixar’s “Monsters University.” Scanlon tells an illuminating story about the management style of John Lasseter.

The latter sort of invented CGI* cartoons, directed Pixar’s first successes (“Toy Story,” “A Bug’s Life,” “Toy Story 2,” “Cars,” and “Cars 2”), was Steve Jobs’ intellectual partner when he purchased the Company in 1986 and is today the studio’s iconic boss.

John Lasseter - (CC) Loren Javier

John Lasseter – (CC) Loren Javier

The production of a CGI cartoon of the quality of Pixar movies is such a complex enterprise that each project goes through phases in which it seems to lose its logic, its interest and even its raison d’etre.

In such a situation, instead of attributing guilt and thus increasing the team’s stress level, John Lasseter adopts a dual approach (quote):

  • Be the team’s first cheerleader in order to keep people enthusiastic and inspire them to do even better.
  • Go back to the beginning of the movie and remind team members why they started the project.

Of course, for such a method to be effective, the team must feel the passion of their manager for their project and his trust in them.

* computer-generated imagery.

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