July 18, 2013

The Power of "Next" in Dealing with Highs & Lows

Smart CEO has an
article by Adam Leipzig where he describes how Disney and Dreamworks executive Jeffrey Katzenberg handles his team's successes and failures. The Monday after the big box office opening of the movie "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids":
We were all full of laughter, high-fiving each other and passing around compliments when Jeffrey strode in. He took his customary seat at the head of the long table and looked around the room. “Congratulations,” he said, simply. Then, with barely a pause he said, “Next.”Next? That wasn’t what we wanted to hear. We wanted to hear praise for the next hour! But no, it was back to business. I thought I understood the meaning of “Next” that morning: we shouldn’t focus on our success or we’ll become complacent and self-congratulatory. But there was a deeper meaning, and I didn’t learn it until months later. We assembled for another Monday morning meeting, this time after we had opened a movie called An Innocent Man....But the movie didn’t attract enough audience, and over the weekend we knew it would be a financial failure. By Monday morning, we were glum and depressed. Jeffrey entered right on time, as usual, at eight o’clock, and settled into his place. The room went still. He surveyed our stolid faces. “Next,” he said, then turned to his notes for the morning’s agenda. We breathed a sigh of relief, because we’d expected to get chewed out. But we weren’t. No one had done anything wrong with the movie – the creative team had made it well, the marketing campaign sold its message, and the distribution group had booked the right theatres. The audience simply wasn’t interested and, in a risky business like show business, that comes with the territory. What did we do in the face of defeat? We simply moved on.
Arun Natarajan is the Founder & CEO of Venture Intelligence, the leading provider of data and analysis on private company transactions, valuations and financials in India. Click Here to learn about Venture Intelligence products that help entrepreneurs Reach Out to Investors, Research Competition, Learn from Experienced Entrepreneurs and Interact with Peers. Includes the Free Deal Digest Weekly Newsletter: India's First & Most Exhaustive Transactions Newsletter.