Leggo That Ego - Bob Iger(Disney)

September 25, 2019    lessons wisdom

From a Nytimes story on Bob Iger (Disney CEO):

It turned out, though, that Mr. Iger had a fierce will under that gentlemanly exterior. Early on, he began getting up at 4 a.m. to outwork everyone else and he still does. He sets out his exercise clothes the night before, so he doesn’t have to turn on the lights in his closet and thus wake up his wife, Willow Bay, a former Estee Lauder model and broadcaster who is now dean of the USC Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism. He leaves out a coffee mug for Ms. Bay and warms up some milk for her coffee before he tackles the VersaClimber.

“I never viewed myself as exceptional,” Mr. Iger says over salmon and a glass of red wine at the Napa Rose restaurant in Disneyland. “And so whenever I got a job, I was relying on hard work more than anything and a level of enthusiasm and optimism. When I went to ABC Sports, everybody there went to Stanford or Dartmouth or Columbia.

“Ithaca College, O.K.? I didn’t have an inferiority complex but I knew I wasn’t one of them. I didn’t wear Gucci shoes. I didn’t wear Brooks Brothers clothes. I couldn’t afford any of that stuff, but I knew I had a work ethic that was prodigious. And what happened early on is people started relying on me because they knew if they asked me to get something done, including Roone Arledge” — the ABC executive — “I would get it done.

“So suddenly I realized, well, wait a minute. I may not be special in certain ways. But when it came to getting things done, I was special. And that’s actually driven me throughout, you know?”

Actually, Mr. Iger’s book is a primer on how much you can achieve if you keep your ego in check. In an era of brutish and ego-driven leadership in the White House, Silicon Valley and in many other countries around the world, Mr. Iger doesn’t lead with his ego or try to drive the other alphas out of the herd.

“You have to have an ability to subjugate your own ego,” he says. “It serves you well when you’re rising and then even when you have risen, there are going to be times when you just have to put that away.”