Entrepreneurial Spirit: What Walt Disney’s Fascination with Progress Taught me

I’ve just returned from Walt Disney World this past Monday and, for those of you who may not know, I’m a HUGE Disney fan. The customer experience has always amazed me. I felt a connection with Walt himself on this particular trip. At The Magic Kingdom they have an attraction called “The Carousel of Progress.” Walt was always fascinated with progress. The Carousel of Progress was the last project Walt personally developed from start to finish before he passed away.

For those of you who are not familiar with the attraction, this is a show in a circular building. The theater is broken up into four equal-sized wedges. The “actors” are animatronics, kind of like a wax museum figure that can move. Walt developed the technology. The show begins at the turn of the 20th century, and the theater revolves four times around a central stage to take the audience on a look at progress through the century.

Walt truly was an innovator and was always looking at making life better and more interesting through technology and fantasy. As I was experiencing this attraction I thought of this quote that says,

“You’re either green and growin’ or ripe and rotting!”

Meaning if you’re not in a constant search to better yourself, you’re heading in the wrong direction.

Your business is a reflection of you. Whether you own or are a partner or team member. A constant, progressive surge forward should be a major part of your mantra, the essence of you. When I asked a colleague who lives three blocks away about the qualities of being a great leader, one quality on his short list is being open-minded. He said, “I feel the world is so complex and there’s so much to know that if the leader is open-minded, he or she can gain amazing insight by listening to the knowledge of others.” Progress in knowledge and systems of doing something is what drives the Entrepreneurial Spirit. Embrace it! Live it!

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