On Halloween this year instead of dressing up and pretending to be other people, a friend and I took advantage of the half-price tickets offered for the live Broadway production of “The Lion King.” I have always had a love for the theater, but this was by far one of the most creative theatrical events I have ever attended. Everything from the costumes to the set design to the music and the actors working together seamlessly to tell the story of how Simba overcame his fears and defeated his evil Uncle Scar to become King of the Jungle
As I sat wide-eyed in my seat taking in every detail the show had to offer, I began to think about the creative process it took to take “The Lion King” from an animated feature film to a musical concept and finally translating it to the magical experience that was unfolding before my eyes. I imagine an elaborate conference room somewhere in the heart of the Disney studio filled with a mixture of executives and the best creative types the world has to offer. This is how I imagine the conversation went down.
The executive at the head of the table stands and proudly addresses the group:
“We have brought you all here today to discuss taking one of Disney’s most beloved animated films of all time and turning it into a musical.”
Everyone nods in agreement.One guy whispers to no one in particular: “Piece of cake, we made Peter Pan fly.”
One of the creative guys yells: “So, which one, Boss?”
The head honcho proudly declares: “The Lion King.” And the room falls silent.The tension and excitement in the room builds as each person considers the tasks that have been handed to them.
Because it’s Disney, I doubt anyone declared openly that the idea was impossible, but at least one person in that room had to have been thinking, “But there aren’t any humans in that movie. How are we going to do this?”
What Disney has done right, especially in the case of “The Lion King,” is find people who buy into the vision of the project and place these people in the right positions to succeed. The creators of the musical not only adapted the animated film to the stage, but they did it in such a way that it has taken on a life of its own. Don’t be fooled; this is not a performance just for the kids. As part of the audience, you are invited to be part of the show by using your imagination to truly capture the story.
The applicable lesson that can be applied to business from my magical experience is this: Make sure your employees understand the vision of your company and are taking on tasks that feed to their strengths. Empowering your employees to be invested in their projects will not only create a better working environment, but will positively affect the outcome of work on a daily basis.