Walt's Voice

There are cool advantages of working at Walt Disney Studios and here's one of the unexpected things that happened during my long stay at the house of mouse. By caprice, I happened by the office of one of my colleagues. He had old clips of Walt Disney doing a recording session for a studio project many years ago. You probably already know that Walt Disney was the voice of the famous mouse. However, there were times when Walt was required to "play himself" for a project. This recording happened to be for one of the theme park attractions.

I couldn't help but stop and listen because you seldom hear Walt's voice these days. Clearly, this session was decades old and some of Disney's takes sounded a bit awkward and stiff. On occasion, Walt would stumble over a line and break out in laughter. It was if he was amused by his own lackluster reading. What struck me as I listened to this recording was how warm and friendly Disney came across. He was hardly giving the reading of a polished professional but it was a whole lot more. Charming, friendly and totally engaging. I'll admit we found ourselves captivated by the session.

At that moment I suddenly found myself in a story meeting back in the nineteen sixties. Once again, I could hear Walt's voice. Disney was telling everyone they could do better. And, because he believed it - so did you. You worked that much harder because you didn't want to let the boss down. It wasn't for a lofty paycheck or the coveted screen credit. It wasn't for all the stuff that seems so important today. It was because the quality of final product was all that mattered.

It's a sad day when any successful company loses their inspired leader. When there's no one left to articulate the founder's vision the organization simply slips into another cash generating machine. And, for any organization, that's a very sad end indeed.