Noticing and building a sense of purpose at Pixar

My reflections on the following article by Ed Catmull in the April 2014 McKinsey Quarterly:

Ed writes of developing a Proactive sense of purpose at Pixar following his discovery that all was not right with the ‘people factors’ within his organisation despite the phenomenal commercial success of ‘Toy Story’.

This sense of purpose is derived from the concept that being on the lookout for problems is not the same as seeing problems.

Therefore proactively ‘noticing’ is better than reacting to the consequences of previously unseen problems.

It is better to discover organisationally ‘consciously incompetent’ rather than suffer from the fall out from ‘unconscious incompetence’.

Such discovery is enabled by leaders asking questions such as:

What are the things (processes that best enable successful interactions) that are being done right?
Can these processes be replicated at other times and other locations?
How are we continually scouting for serious, potentially disastrous interaction problems above/below/around?
Do we know what proportion of success or failure is down to chance?
If we are succeeding; what are the consequences of success; to the individuals/teams/organisation?

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