In the April 28, 2008 edition of FORTUNE magazine, Richard Iklos interviewed Disney CEO Bob Iger about how Disney is doing. What stood out in the article of interest to me (and I think my readers) is his thoughts on the Disney brand. Iger is quoted as saying:

I love classic Mickey, but to kids today, classic Mickey is meaningless.

That’s powerful from the CEO of a company who is better identified by their mousy logo than the elegant script of their founder’s signature.

Along the same lines, Mr. Iger provides some wise words in the balance between being prolific and maintaining a quality product or service in response to the statement that the Disney brand may be dated.

There was a perception that there was too much Disney product in the marketplace. And by the way, the combination of lack of quality and too much product is really deadly.

What caught me was how germane this was to many blogs I read and websites I (used to) visit. We are constantly bombarded with advice on being quick to respond to change and the business\customer that we sometimes sacrifice quality for quantity thereby diluting the entire response and eventually making us irrelevant.

Another point of interest in the interview is the comments Mr. Iger makes with respect to the strong Disney heritage. I’m currently employed by an organization with very rich heritage and colorful family history. Many of the employees I work with have 10, 20, 30 years of tenure with the company. Mr. Iger states:

When you deal with a company that has a great legacy, you deal with decisions and conflicts that arise from the clash of heritage vs. innovation vs. relevance. I’m a big believer in respect for heritage, but I’m also a big believer in the need to innovate and the need to balance that respect for heritage with a need to be relevant.

These words caught my attention in that the people I am working with recognize that they are thirsty for new experiences and innovation in the organization. And instead of living with that thirst they are open to taking a drink from the cup of new ideas and experimentation. As a new employee with some of these “new ideas” I have to balance my urge to turn on the firehose with a “respect for heritage.” So far, so good.

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