I don’t know about you, but I’m a complete sucker for a Disney animated film ????♀️(even before I had children).
From the captivating storytelling to the stunning animation, there’s something truly magical about them. But what really fascinates me is how these incredible stories come together, and the creative process and people behind them.
Even though I haven’t seen the second instalment of the Frozen movie, I spent last weekend watching “Into The Unknown: The Making of Frozen 2“, a behind-the-scenes documentary on how Disney created this film in one of their most successful franchises.
There were so many valuable lessons to be learned about leading a team through such a long and complex creative process. It was truly inspiring to see how the team worked together, faced challenges, and ultimately produced something truly magical.
One of the key takeaways for me was the critical role that continuous feedback plays in Disney’s culture and how it drives its success in creating innovative and engaging stories and experiences.
Throughout the documentary, we see the filmmakers and animators constantly giving and receiving feedback on their work, in formal and informal ways. They work in such a highly collaborative environment. And it was clear that everyone on the team was not only encouraged but required to share their ideas and opinions to make the story and final product the best it could be.
It’s obvious that they have a culture of open communication and feedback which is deeply embedded in Disney’s DNA and is one of the key factors that sets them apart from other studios. Feedback is given one-on-one and within a group. It is obvious that those who are part of the team have clarity on the meaning and reason for feedback and the high purpose that it drives towards – making the story and the final product better.
I was truly inspired by how much importance they placed on feedback and how it was integral to their process.
It made me realise just how crucial it is to have open communication and feedback in any collaborative effort where innovation and raising the bar is important. When everyone has a clear understanding of why feedback is important and how it drives towards a higher purpose, it can truly make all the difference in achieving a successful outcome.
One of the most impressive things about Disney’s feedback process is how they approach it from multiple angles. They have a team of creative executives who provide overall feedback on the story and characters, but they also have specialists who focus on specific areas, such as animation or music. And, they test it with their customers (the audience) early and often. This allows them to get a variety of perspectives to ensure that every aspect of the film is as strong as it can be.
Disney’s feedback process is also very iterative. They don’t just give feedback once and move on; they continuously refine and improve their work based on feedback from multiple sources. This allows them to make small tweaks and adjustments that ultimately add up to a much stronger final product.
With my leadership lens on, I reflected on so many valuable lessons to be learned from Disney’s approach to building a culture of feedback.
1. It’s essential to create a culture where feedback is encouraged and valued. Everyone on the team should feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and ideas, and there should be mechanisms in place to ensure that feedback is heard and acted upon.
Q. How are you building a level of trust and psychological safety in your team?
Q. What are the systems and processes that support this in your team and business?
2. It’s important to develop the mindsets and skills in yourself and your team to be able to give and receive feedback in a meaningful and impactful way. An approach that is thoughtful, purposeful, and delivered in a compassionate, constructive and supportive way.
Q. How are you investing in developing these skills in yourself and others?
3. It’s important to approach feedback from multiple angles. Don’t just rely on one person’s opinion or expertise; seek out feedback from a variety of sources to ensure that you’re getting a well-rounded perspective.
Q. What are the mechanisms for you and your team to engage with others to get different perspectives on your project/task?
4. It’s crucial to embrace an iterative feedback process. Don’t be satisfied with just one round of feedback; instead, continue to refine and improve your work based on ongoing feedback from multiple sources. By doing so, you’ll be able to create a final product that is much stronger and more innovative than anything you could have achieved on your own.
Q. Have you considered time for iterative feedback in your project timeline?
“The Making of Frozen 2” is an excellent example of how feedback is at the heart of Disney’s creative process. By embracing a culture of open communication, seeking out feedback from multiple sources, and iterating on their work, Disney has been able to create innovative and engaging content that captivates audiences around the world. As leaders, we can learn so much from their approach to feedback and apply those lessons to our own work to drive growth, development, and innovation.
If this resonates with you, I invite you to try the feedback processes in my comprehensive guidebook: How To Give & Receive Constructive Feedback.